MONCTON, N.B. -- New Brunswick is opening a special clinic for patients suffering from an unknown brain disease that has affected at least 47 people in the province and killed six.

Symptoms of the unknown neurological disorder include rapidly progressing dementia, muscle spasms and atrophy. The Health Department says most of the patients at the time of their referrals were living around the Moncton, N.B., area and the Acadian Peninsula.

The Horizon Health Network announced Thursday it opened the Special Neurodegenerative Disorder Clinic for patients with rapid or early-onset cognitive decline.

The health authority says the clinic at The Moncton Hospital will focus on assessing patients suspected of having the mysterious brain disease.

Horizon says it's expected physicians will see 16 to 20 patients per week in the clinic.

The provincial government launched a website Tuesday evening offering details about what is known so far on the illness.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.