Mystery Mad Cow Disease-like brain illness triggering seizures and 'imposter' hallucinations baffles doctors in Canada

A MYSTERIOUS CJD-like brain illness that triggers seizures and hallucinations has left doctors in Canada baffled.

The illness is similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, (CJD), a rare and fatal brain disease, also known as "Mad Cow Disease."

Roger Ellis in his early 60s collapsed at home with a seizure almost two years ago.

Mr Ellis who was from theNew Brunswick area was enjoying his retirement up until suddenly his health started to decline.

His son, Steve Ellis told the BBC: "He had delusions, hallucinations, weight loss, aggression, repetitive speech.

"At one point he couldn't even walk. So in the span of three months we were being brought to a hospital to tell us they believed he was dying – but no one knew why."

Mr Ellis' doctors immediately suspected CJD but all of his test results came back negative.

Back in March, officials had confirmed there had been 43 cases and five people had died in Canada from an unknown neurological disorder, similar to CJD.

The mystery illness appeared to affect all age groups to be concentrated in the New Brunswick and the Moncton regions.

When a public health memo warning of an unknownbrain disease got published, Mr Ellis' son knew that his dad's symptomps were similar.

"The first thing I said was: 'This is my dad,'" he told the BBC.

At the moment the cases have raised to 48 and six people are believed to have died from the illness.

Mr Ellis is now believed to be one of those patients and is under the care of Dr Alier Marrero.

According to Dr Marrero, symptomsof the mystery illnesscan vary depending on the patient.

The disease starts with anxiety, depression, pain, muscle aches and spasms and continues with insomnia, memory issues, language impairments, weight loss, muscle atrophy and even hallucinations.

Neurologist Dr Neil Cashman, one of those involved in the research of the mystery disease says even though patients have not shown any sign of any known prion diseases, it has not been ruled out as a possible cause.

A theory the team examines is chronic exposure to excitotoxin and another toxin called beta-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) which has been linked to diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Dr Cashman said the current list of theories "is not complete".

"We have to go back to first principles, go back to square one," he told the outlet.

"At this point basically nothing can be excluded."

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