GHS investigates possible rare brain disease exposure - FOX Carolina 21

GHS investigates possible rare brain disease exposure

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Greenville Memorial Hospital is one of GHS's main campuses, located on Grove Road in Greenville. (File/FOX Carolina) Greenville Memorial Hospital is one of GHS's main campuses, located on Grove Road in Greenville. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Greenville Hospital System is investigating whether 11 patients who had neurological surgeries were potentially exposed to rare brain disorder.

Officials with GHS said surgical instruments being used on a patient who was later diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease did not undergo additional sterilization.

Hospital officials said all instruments were sterilized according to rigorous U.S. protocols, but the CJD patient's diagnosis was not known at the time of the surgery and the Centers for Disease Control recommends that instruments that have come into contact with CJD undergo additional sterilization.

The surgeries took place at Greenville Memorial Hospital in February.

Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease affects about one person in every one million people per year worldwide and there is an extremely low risk of transmission, according to GHS.

In the United States, there has never been a case of CJD transmission through surgical instruments.

"This is a very unusual event," said Dr. Thomas Diller, GHS' vice president of quality and patient safety. "After a full assessment and discussion with the CDC, we believe the risk of transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease to any patient is extremely small. We also value transparency and thus notified all patients who could be affected by this potential exposure."

GHS has partnered with the CDC and the National Prion Center for its investigation.

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