Updated: 12:16 PM PDT, April 01, 2021
Canadian officials are trying to find the cause of a mysterious brain disease that has affected several residents in the New Brunswick Province.
Live Science states that officials alerted doctors that they were monitoring 43 cases of people with an unknown neurological disease. The first case was identified in 2015, but there has been a rise in cases over the past few years. 24 cases were reported in 2020 and six have been confirmed so far in 2021.
Symptoms of the illness, which include hallucinations, memory loss, muscle atrophy, unexplained pains and spasms, and teeth-chattering. are similar to a fatal brain disorder called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, but tests show no evidence of CJD.
So far, five deaths have been linked to this mystery disease.
Most cases have been limited to a certain region: Acadian Peninsula in northeast New Brunswick and near Moncton, a city in southeast New Brunswick. Because of this, environmental toxins could be involved.
Dr. Neil Cashman, a professor at the University of British Columbia, said they are trying to determine if B-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) and domoic acid, toxins that can accumulate in fish and shellfish, are the true causes.
He said, “It’s possible ongoing investigations will give us the cause in a week, or it’s possible it will give us the cause in a year.”