Mysterious brain disease kills five and is reported in 43 people in Canada

(Photo: Global News)

A mysterious disease similar to the mad cow disease has killed five people and infected 43 more in Canada.

Now, Health officials in New Brunswick, Canada, are scrambling to understand how they contracted the illness and what the unknown neurological disease is.

According to CBC, the disease the illness has similarities to the rare and fatal brain disorder known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and its variants, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which is also known as mad cow disease. 

Teams of researchers, scientists and epidemiologists began assembling about a year ago, both at the national level at Health Canada’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance System to figure out what the disease is. ,

But if we’re to take the expertise of neurologist Dr Neil Cashman who acts as an adviser to the team, it is not mad cow disease, and the sooner we find out what it is, the better.

“There is no evidence, not a hint — even in the three autopsies that have been performed — of a human prion disease. That came as a surprise to me, frankly,” he told the CBC. 

Dr. Neil Cashman, an expert in neurology, says an environmental toxin could be the cause. (Submitted by Neil Cashman)

“So in essence, this is something new, and we need to get on the stick and figure out what this is.”

Cashman said he’s tapping into his expertise in neurology and environmental toxins to look for other explanations.

He added; “All of these are speculation at this point,” Cashman stressed. “A lot of scientific acumen will be required to pin it down to a cause.”

The disease was first diagnosed in 2015, and disease affects all age groups.