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December 11 , 2006

Tommasina Conte
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 77062

LHSC University Hospital lab tests confirmed, instruments unlikely to have been contaminated by CJD

(LONDON, Ontario) - London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL received confirmation from the Public Health Agency of Canada that a tissue sample taken from a patient suspected of having Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) has tested negative, meaning that a diagnosis of the disease is extremely unlikely. CJD can only be ruled out definitively with a post-mortem examination.

“In light of the negative test results and the absence of clinical evidence to support a CJD diagnosis, we no longer believe there is a risk of contamination to surgical instruments,” says Dr. Michael John, citywide director of Infection Prevention and Control. “Although the risk would have been extremely low even if there was a diagnosis of CJD, it was important to proceed with a high degree of caution.”

Surgical instruments used at LHSC University Hospital between November 30 and December 4 will remain in quarantine for the period of time recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada in order to provide absolute assurance that there is no risk of CJD contamination.

President and Chief Executive Officer Cliff Nordal says the quick response to the potential threat reflects the high priority the hospital places on patient care and patient safety. “Whenever there is a potential threat to the health and safety of our patients, we will proceed with a high level of caution. In this case, our staff and physicians acted quickly to contain any risks, and were just as timely in restoring services to patients once we were in a position to mitigate any potential risks.”

LHSC University Hospital has begun to reschedule surgeries and invasive clinical procedures that were cancelled last week until the hospital was able to secure a new supply of surgical instruments.

LHSC has established a toll-free information line to respond to questions from the public. The number 1-866-313-5528 is monitored for questions and messages from the public between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

* November 30: Patient undergoes neurosurgery at LHSC University Hospital. Clinical screening does not suggest CJD
* December 4: LHSC Pathology processes tissue sample from patient and suspects possibility of CJD. LHSC University Hospital quarantines surgical instruments used since November 30 and suspends all surgeries and invasive clinical procedures until new instruments are obtained. A patient information call centre is established
* December 5: Preliminary LHSC lab results are negative for CJD, suggesting a diagnosis of the disease is unlikely
* December 6: LHSC University Hospital restores outpatient procedures and some surgeries after securing a supply of new instruments
* December 11: Test results from the Public Health Agency of Canada are negative, confirming LHSC lab results. Hospital officials no longer consider instrument contamination a risk