David Coon, the leader of the New Brunswick Green Party is calling for answers regarding a new disease that has been on the rise in the Canadian province.
According to an article on Global News, Coon said that opposition leaders were not given any information on this matter. The first case, which appeared in 2015, was followed by 11 cases in 2019 and then 24 cases in 2020. So far, 5 people have died from this brain disorder.
This disease doesn’t have a name yet as it is relatively new, but chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell stated that its symptoms closely resemble those of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative brain disorder.
As reported in an article in the Toronto Star, Coon is demanding that answers be provided to the public: “People have a right to know that public health is all over this, what they’re doing, what they’ve ruled out to date, what they’re looking at, and who’s involved from across the country in helping us solve the mystery”.
Coon iterated that the public should be given more information about the disease to be aware about any possible contagion, where it originates from, which areas are more at risk, etc.
The Green leader criticized Public Health for not speaking up about this new disease earlier and added that by not informing the public, they are contributing to a growing sense of anxiety and fear amongst the population: “When there’s a lack of information, you get fear.”
The Acadian Peninsula is home to approximately 48 000 Canadians, but it is still unknown which areas are currently being monitored or which areas are at a higher risk.
Dr. Jennifer Russell commented that there are 43 active cases in New Brunswick at the moment. As mentioned beforehand, the disease has no name yet and is found to be similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in terms of symptoms.
The reason it was not talked about more back in 2015, when the first case was identified, is because there was only one active case. Russell explained that investigations of this magnitude are not necessarily conducted in such a situation as there are occasional cases similar to this one that appear in Canada every now and then.
There is no cure as not enough research has been conducted yet. Dr. Alier Marrero, a neurologist, speculates that the disease originally came from either a water source, an environmental source or a food source.