Do prions have long incubation periods?
The incubation period of prion diseases is long as compared with other common diseases. However, the genetic and biological reasons for these longer incubation periods remain unclear.
How contagious is prion disease?
Prion disease is not contagious; there is no evidence to suggest it can be spread from person to person by close contact. Once a person has developed prion disease, central nervous system tissues (brain, spinal cord and eye tissue) are thought to be extremely infectious.
What is the incubation period for CJD?
The incubation period of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is not known. However, based on the assumptions that most cases of variant CJD were exposed to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the 1980s and that the incidence peaked in 2000, an average incubation period of 11-12 years can be estimated.
How long do prions last?
Those powers are considerable. According to one account, prions resist digestion by protein-cleaving enzymes, may remain infectious for years when fixed by drying or chemicals, can survive 200°C heat for 1-2 hours, and become glued to stainless steel within minutes. Oh, and they’re also resistant to ionizing radiation.
Why is Kuru called the Laughing disease?
The term kuru derives from the Fore word kuria or guria (“to shake”), due to the body tremors that are a classic symptom of the disease and kúru itself means “trembling”. It is also known as the “laughing sickness” due to the pathologic bursts of laughter which are a symptom of the disease.
What is Kuru disease?
Kuru is a very rare disease. It is caused by an infectious protein (prion) found in contaminated human brain tissue. Kuru causes brain and nervous system changes similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Similar diseases appear in cows as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also called mad cow disease.