What is kuru disease?
Kuru is a rare and fatal nervous system disease. Its highest prevalence occurred during the 1950s and 1960s among the Fore people in the highlands of New Guinea. The Fore people contracted the disease by performing cannibalism on corpses during funeral rituals.
The name kuru means “to shiver” or “trembling in fear.” The symptoms of the disease include muscle twitching and loss of coordination. Other symptoms include difficulty walking, involuntary movements, behavioral and mood changes, dementia, and difficulty eating. The latter can cause malnutrition. Kuru has no known cure. It’s usually fatal within one year of contraction.
The identification and study of kuru helped along scientific research in a number of ways. It was the first neurodegenerative disease resulting from an infectious agent. It led to the creation of a new class of diseases including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease, and fatal familial insomnia. Today the study of kuru still impacts research on neurodegenerative diseases.
What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?
Creutzfeldt-Jakob (KROITS-felt YAH-kobe) disease (CJD) is a degenerative brain disorder that leads to dementia and, ultimately, death. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease symptoms can be similar to those of other dementia-like brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. But Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease usually progresses much more rapidly.
CJD captured public attention in the 1990s when some people in the United Kingdom developed a form of the disease — variant CJD (vCJD) — after eating meat from diseased cattle. However, “classic” Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease hasn’t been linked to contaminated beef. All types of CJD are serious, but very rare. Worldwide, about one to two cases of CJD are diagnosed per million people each year, most often in older adults.
Man Dies From Eating “squirrel brains”
The key here is that because these misfolded prions can mess up other prions, the disease is highly contagious. If prions from an infected person get into your system, you can contract Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease too. Fortunately, however, contracting CJD isn’t as easy as contracting the flu. Prions don’t spread through mucus or saliva, so you can’t get the disease from being sneezed on or whatever. Instead, the most common way to get CJD from another person is to eat them.
Source -> https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a23875340/creutzfeldt-jakob-united-states-squirrel-brains/
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