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Variant Creutzfeldt–Jacob disease: the second case in Portugal and in the same geographical region
  1. Á Machado1,
  2. H Soares2,
  3. H Antunes2,
  4. Z Magalhães3,
  5. C Ferreira1,
  6. I Baldeiras4,
  7. M H Ribeiro4,
  8. I Santana5,
  9. J Ramalheira6,
  10. L Castro7,
  11. S Carpenter7
  1. 1
    Neurology Department, Hospital de São Marcos, Braga, Portugal
  2. 2
    Adolescent Unit, Paediatrics Department, Hospital de São Marcos, Braga, Portugal
  3. 3
    Neuroradiology Department, Hospital de São Marcos, Braga, Portugal
  4. 4
    Neurochemistry Laboratory, Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  5. 5
    Neurology Department, Hospitais da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  6. 6
    Neurophysiology Department, Hospital Geral de Santo António, Porto, Portugal
  7. 7
    Pathology Department, Hospital de São João, Porto, Portugal
  1. Dr Álvaro Machado, Serriço de Neurologia, Hospital de Sâo Marcos, Largo Carlos Amarante, Apartado 2242, 4700-Braga, Portngal; alvmac{at}


We present the second variant Creutzfeldt–Jacob patient in the same district of northwest Portugal as was previously reported. A 14-year-old previously healthy girl had unexplained pain in the left leg, as well as psychiatric disturbances. This was shortly followed by progressive cognitive impairment, ataxia and generalised choreoatethosis. Neuropsychological assessment revealed severe frontal and medial temporal dysfunction, the posterior cortices being spared. An electroencephalogram was normal. CSF 14.3.3 protein was slightly positive. Magnetic resonance imaging showed the “hockey stick sign” and hyperintensities in the periaquedutal grey matter and in the right parietal cortex, the last with restriction to water molecule movement. SPECT revealed perfusion defects in the left frontotemporal and right parietal regions. PRNP gene sequencing showed no mutations, the patient being homozygous to methionine in codon 129. Five months after onset, immunocytochemical and immunoblotting analysis confirmed deposition of prion protein and a PrP4t electrophoretic pattern. The patient never travelled outside Portugal or received blood transfusions. She had surgical herniorrhaphy in 1998 (when catgut was used) and 2003. This is the second case in Portugal in a 2-year period and 20 km apart from each other, with no known common exposure apart from ingestion of cow meat. We discuss these case peculiarities and underline its epidemiological significance.

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  • Competing interests: None.

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