Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/11/2020

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a rare degenerative brain disease that is uniformly fatal. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a different condition than classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Signs and symptoms begin with neurologic changes and can include

The condition belongs to the group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

Causes of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

A prion, an abnormal form of a protein that is transmissible and causes disease, causes vCJD. vCJD is believed to be caused by the same agent that is responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cows. vCJD does not spread from human to human, rather people acquire it from eating meat from infected cows or from blood transfusions from affected people.

Other variant creutzfeldt-jakob disease symptoms


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.