Prion Diseases. Microbes and Society Fall 2007. What is a Prion?. Prion- small proteinaceous infectious particles which resist inactivation by procedures that modify nucleic acids
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Microbes and Society
TSE’s are a family of rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals. They are distinguished by long incubation periods, characteristic spongiform changes associated with neuronal loss, and a failure to induce inflammatory response. (CDC)
Kuru is a rare and fatal brain disorder that occurred at epidemic levels during the 1950s-60s among the Fore people in the highlands of New Guinea.
The disease was the result of the practice of ritualistic cannibalism among the Fore, in which relatives prepared and consumed the tissues (including brain) of deceased family members.
Brain tissue from individuals with kuru was highly infectious, and the disease was transmitted either through eating or by contact with open sores or wounds.