HHints, weight gain, insomnia… For several weeks, young patients with no medical history have been afflicted with a mysterious illness, reports the British daily The guard. This epidemic is currently raging in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, where almost 150 people are said to be affected.
Questioned by our English colleagues, an employee of the Vitalité health network, in charge of hospitals in this province, is concerned because these diseases are affecting more and more people. Some patients have bothersome symptoms such as “feeling like insects are crawling on their skin” or lose motor skills. In some cases, this infection leads to the death of the affected person.
The cause of this disease? This could be a result of the intensive lobster farming in the region and in particular the presence of BMAA, a neurotoxic amino acid found in these animals. This substance could be the origin of the epidemic.
A first warning came last spring when several local media outlets discovered these rampant contaminations. At that point, nearly 43 cases had been identified in the region. The symptoms were similar to those of another disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. A deadly neurodegenerative disease that leads, among other things, to impaired balance and cases of severe dementia. Corresponding Guardianresidents had been informed of this epidemic through a leaked memo from the local health authority, urging doctors to report these types of symptoms in their patients.
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