The patient lived in Texas and died recently. Laboratory tests done during an autopsy of the man's brain showed he had variant CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CJD is believed to be caused by consumption of products from cows that are infected with mad cow disease.
More than 220 variant CJD cases have been reported worldwide, with 177 cases in the United Kingdom and 27 cases in France. In the three previous U.S. cases, infection likely occurred outside the United States, including the United Kingdom (2 cases) and Saudi Arabia (1 case).
The fact that this fourth patient traveled outside the United States extensively, particularly to Europe and the Middle East, suggests that he was infected outside this country, the CDC said in a news release.
The CDC said it will continue to work with the Texas Department of State Health Services to determine how and where the man might have been infected.