After the patient died in August officials suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob, an always-fatal disease characterized by rapidly progressive dementia. But the only way to confirm it is through a brain biopsy or autopsy.
The patient had brain surgery at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester in May. Officials warned eight other patients they may have been exposed because the proteins that cause the disease survive standard techniques used to sterilize surgical equipment.
Five others in Massachusetts and Connecticut also were notified because the equipment was rented and used elsewhere. But officials say such transmission is extremely rare.