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SC hospital warns patients of potential exposure to fatal brain disease

MSNBC / Reuters, August 2, 2012

A South Carolina hospital said it has notified 11 brain surgery patients that they could have been exposed to a rare brain disease through surgical instruments used on a patient who was later diagnosed with the fatal condition. Greenville Hospital System officials said the patient was found to suffer from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The CDC recommends that instruments that have come into contact with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease undergo additional sterilization procedures prescribed by the World Health Organization. In this case, because the Creutzfeldt-Jakob diagnosis wasn't known at the time of the patient's surgery, the instruments were "sterilized according to rigorous U.S. protocols" but did not undergo any extra disinfecting, a hospital spokeswoman said.