Washington Regional Reopens Operating Rooms After Discovering Patient With Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Washington Regional Medical Center reopened their operating rooms Wednesday night (March 16) after a deadly disease was discovered in one of their operating rooms, according to a press release.

Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, a rare degenerative brain disease, was confirmed in preliminary tests sent from a Feb. 15, 2016 sample of a patient's punctured lumbar. The disease is extremely rare, occurring in about one person per million each year.

The hospital immediately shut down the operating rooms on Tuesday evening (March 15) as a precaution, the release states. The hospital conducted a thorough sterilization and replaced potentially affected surgical instruments, in compliance to World Health Organization recommendations.

There is no risk to patients who are currently at WRMC, said Dr. James Newton, WRMC infectious disease specialist. It is also highly unlikely that the disease was spread to any other patients, staff members or the general public, as the hospital uses standard sterilization procedures that should prevent the spread of the disease.

WRMC is cooperating with the Center for Disease Control and the Arkansas Department of Health, the release states. They will also advise patients who received care during the time period.