Maine Med halts surgeries after possible case of dangerous disease

Maine Med warns of possible degenerative disease in Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine Medical Center is taking numerous precautions after a possible case of a dangerous disease.

Maine Medical Center released the following statement:

After consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and out of an abundance of caution, MMC is going above and beyond the CDC’s recommended protocols. As a result, MMC has postponed elective surgical procedures at its Bramhall campus scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Thursday, Nov. 10, and is in the process of sterilizing equipment and surgical processing areas. We are currently working on rescheduling those elective surgical procedures and apologize for the inconvenience to our patients and families. There is no ongoing risk for patients or staff.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a possible case of prion disease was reported at MMC.

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals. They are distinguished by long incubation periods, characteristic spongiform changes associated with neuronal loss, and a failure to induce inflammatory response.

The causative agents of TSEs are believed to be prions. The term "prions" refers to abnormal, pathogenic agents that are transmissible and are able to induce abnormal folding of specific normal cellular proteins called prion proteins that are found most abundantly in the brain.

The functions of these normal prion proteins are still not completely understood. The abnormal folding of the prion proteins leads to brain damage and the characteristic signs and symptoms of the disease. Prion diseases are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal, according to the CDC.

Because it is a rare and unusual case, it falls under the list of reportable diseases. However, the case in Maine is still unconfirmed.

The hospital is taking every precaution, according to DHHS.

This story is developing.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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