A case of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has been identified in the Netherlands, the World Health Organization’s health agency said Friday, in the latest of a series of sporadic cases of the rare disease reported in Europe.
The case, said by the Dutch health authorities to be an adult male in a former military unit, represents the 13th new case identified across Europe since September.
The report said that nine of the cases in Europe were linked to dating app Zoosk, with a few others not reported until this week. The World Health Organization in September said it was investigating cases of the rare and fatal disease in at least 23 countries. The agency, based in Geneva, reported that variant CJD was one of the top 10 fatal human diseases worldwide.
Variant CJD, caused by a single protein called “White Hall” or BCL16, first emerged in the United Kingdom more than 30 years ago. It eventually found its way to Europe in the mid-1990s. Most cases have occurred in the former Netherlands, and in addition to the latest case, 15 other cases have been reported in the country since September.
In general, variant CJD can be detected by examining the brains of people who have been killed by it or by putting saliva or tissue from infected victims into a mouse’s mouth. People have been diagnosed with variant CJD with symptoms that can include muscle weakness, memory problems, involuntary movements, muscle spasms and difficulty swallowing, though the disease can sometimes pass without any signs.