Canada investigating a cluster of 42 cases of a mad cow-like brain disease

Radio-Canada obtained a memo from the office of the chief medical officer of health to the New Brunswick Medical Society that "notes the existence of a cluster of 42 cases of a progressive neurological syndrome of unknown origin."

It appears that the disease, which resembles Mad Cow Disease, is on the increase. From CBC:

A first case was diagnosed in 2015, according to the memo. Three years later, in 2019, 11 additional cases were discovered, with 24 more cases discovered in 2020 and another six cases in 2021. Five people have died.

The disease affects all age groups and appears to be concentrated in the Acadian Peninsula in northeast New Brunswick and the Moncton region in the southeast. 

"We are collaborating with different national groups and experts; however, no clear cause has been identified at this time," the memo states.

According to preliminary data from a research group on the subject, headed by neurologist Alier Marrero of Moncton's Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, the disease is not genetic and could be contracted from water, food or air. 

No other cases have been reported in Canada.

"For now it has only been found here," Marrero said.