Dozens of young people with no preexisting conditions are developing symptoms of a new disease as activists and families suspect a cover-up on the part of the local government.
A whistleblower with Vitalité Health Network in New Brunswick told The Guardian on Sunday that symptoms include hallucinations, difficulty thinking, limited mobility, insomnia, and rapid weight loss. Local government has reportedly struggled to dismiss the growing number of cases as Alzheimer’s or other neurological diseases uncommon outside the elderly.
While the official number of cases recorded since the mystery illness was first publicly acknowledged in early spring has not budged upward from 48, multiple sources told The Guardian that as many as 150 people may have contracted the fast-moving illness. Still more young people require assessment, and several have died.
“I’m truly concerned about these cases because they seem to evolve so fast,” the source told the outlet, acknowledging that “we owe them some kind of explanation.”
One of the more disturbing elements of the condition is how little is known regarding transmission. In at least nine cases, caretakers and others in close contact with sick individuals have developed similar symptoms to the ailing party, suggesting the illness not only spreads readily between unrelated individuals but that there may be environmental factors involved. Some have compared the illness to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal brain disease caused by misshapen proteins called prions, though screening reportedly produced no confirmed CJD cases.