Unknown neurological disease: NB Health Minister provides update

I won’t speculate on the results of the current investigation, but I think we’re almost done.The minister said during a press briefing about an unknown neurological disease.

During this update, Dr. Natalie Banville and Dr. Susan Brin are joined by Dorothy Sheppard as Medical Director for Vitalité and Horizon Health Networks.

This is the first update to this file since early June, when the territorial government announced the creation of an oversight committee.

The existence of this neurodegenerative disease was recently called into question by an Ontario neurologist, Dr. Gerard Jansen, who performed autopsies on some of the people identified as part of a group of known cases.

A summary of the autopsy reports, released Oct. 7 by the Canadian Society of Neurologists, claims that these patients were misdiagnosed and had other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegenerative disease, or cancer.

A mysterious evil in a note

Last March, following a Radio Canada report, New Brunswick Public Health notified residents that it was closely monitoring a group of patients who appeared to have an unknown disease.

Neurological disease of unknown origin affects about fifty people in the Acadian Peninsula and the Moncton region. Patients have similar symptoms: dementia, unexplained muscle wasting, visual hallucinations, and behavioral changes.

Nine people identified as possibly suffering from this unknown disease have died since 2019.

Two doctors’ opinions are required

The majority of cases of the unknown disease were reported by the same neurologist: Dr. Alier Marrero of Moncton.

But the county on Tuesday tightened the criteria that allows a patient to get a referral related to the syndrome. From now on, the identification of new cases must be approved by two specialist doctors.

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As part of the investigation, we discovered loopholes in the reporting process. This allowed some situations to escalate, often without supervision.Health Minister Dorothy Sheppard said during the press conference.

With information from Nicholas Steinbach

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