Health Bureau (SSM) Director Lei Chin Ion told reporters Monday that the local 51-year-old local woman diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) – commonly known as “mad cow” disease – was infected some time before she had brain surgery in Hong Kong in September.
Lei was at local charity organisation Tung Sin Tong’s opening ceremony of a memorial hall honouring its late president Chui Tak Kei when he made the remarks.
“In fact we don’t even know how and where she got it,” said Lei. “In more than 80 percent of such cases around of world, the source of infection remains unknown.”
Lei confirmed that the patient had a hysterectomy at the Conde de Sao Joao Hospital Centre before going to Hong Kong.
“Maybe the reports in the Hong Kong newspapers are a bit misleading,” said Lei. “But she had shown symptoms [of CJD] before going there.”
The SSM director also said the local hospital was now tracking down all the surgical instruments that were used to perform the hysterectomy – the surgical removal of the uterus – and these instruments would no longer be used.
“We are tracking them down,” said Lei. “There will be no problem to find them as we have the records.”
Lei added the Health Bureau would find out which patients were operated on using the same surgical instruments in the period between the woman’s hysterectomy in the local hospital and the diagnosis of CJD.
“We’ll will be responsible for their health checks and explain to these patients the potential risks so they’ll be informed and we’ll keep monitoring them in the long term,” Lei was quoted by The Macau Post Daily as saying.
Lei said the local Health Bureau had contacted its Hong Kong counterpart about the latest developments in the case as he suspected that the surgical instruments used during the local patient’s brain surgery in Hong Kong might also have been contaminated, which would pose a high risk to patients undergoing brain surgery.
He also said that the patient was currently in a coma.(macaunews)