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Statement on low risk of transmitting CJD through cataract surgery

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(Moncton) April 8, 2019 - We would like to confirm Horizon's The Moncton Hospital has identified two separate cases where a patient with probable Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) had cataract surgery in our facility. After careful review it was determined that these two cases are totally unrelated. CJD is a rare degenerative brain disorder that leads to dementia.

Patients who received the same procedure in the following weeks have no significant risk of contracting the protein from the same medical instruments being used.

Horizon is confident the risk of transmitting CJD from using the same instruments is not significant. Horizon uses modern cleaning and sterilization processes that make the transmission nearly impossible.

Horizon notified 103 patients of the risk by letter upon discovering the first case of CJD on January 15, 2019. We notified an additional 601 patients on February 14,2019 following the discovery of the second probable case.

Patients were encouraged to call Horizon to speak with either their ophthalmologist or a member of Horizon's team. We can confirm that 43 patients contacted Horizon to learn more about their potential risk.

The transmission of CJD by surgical instruments has only been documented on seven occasions worldwide, occurring more than 20-40 years ago, and none of the CJD cases have been linked to cataract surgery.

Even though the risk of one of our patients contracting CJD is extremely low, Horizon is committed to being transparent and wanted to share this information with patients that received cataract surgery at Horizon's The Moncton Hospital.

We also shared this information with the family physicians for each patient.

Due to the rarity of having two separate CJD cases identified, we have disclosed this information to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

CJD Patient Letter Thumbnail

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