Dáil Éireann - Volume 508 - 30 September, 1999

Written Answers. - CJD Incidence.

44. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who have contracted CJD; the number who have died as a result of contracting CJD; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18310/99]

105. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who have contracted CJD; the number who have died as a result of contracting CJD; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18407/99]

[745] Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 105 together.

My Department's records of cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Ireland date from 1980. In the period from 1980 to date, 31 persons have contracted the disease. In each case the patient died. One of the cases, which occurred in 1999, involved new variant CJD.

The CJD advisory group was established in 1996 to advise the Minister for Health and Children on CJD-related matters including surveillance, research strategies and international developments generally in relation to this disease, and to provide advice on particular issues referred to the group from time to time by the Minister.

The advisory group is comprised of experts in neurology, neuropathology, public health, veterinary medicine and microbiology. My Department is also represented.

To establish the true incidence of CJD and to determine any changes in the pattern and-or nature of its occurrence, a national surveillance system has been established and is based at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. The objectives of this project are to build a database of information on CJD cases in Ireland and to provide a facility to medical practitioners for the verification of suspected cases of the disease.

Ireland also participates in the European surveillance programme on CJD.