The Institute of Health Monitoring in France revealed on Tuesday that it suspected that a fifth case of vCJD had been discovered among the population.

Doctors have analysed the tissue from the tonsils of a woman in her thirties and say that they are almost certain that she has the disease. She is reported to have “typical symptoms” of the human form of mad cow disease, but the presence of the illness can only be confirmed in the event of death.

To date in France, three people have died from the disease. A fourth person is still alive but believed to be suffering with vCJD.