Mad cow disease confirmed at California dairy
About Prion Diseases
Prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) 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.
The causative agents of TSEs are believed to be prions. The term "prions" refers to abnormal, pathogenic agents that are transmissible and are able to induce abnormal folding of specific normal cellular proteins called prion proteins that are found most abundantly in the brain. The functions of these normal prion proteins are still not completely understood. The abnormal folding of the prion proteins leads to brain damage and the characteristic signs and symptoms of the disease. Prion diseases are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal.
Listed below are the prion diseases identified to date. Click the linked diseases to go to their respective topic sites. CDC does not currently offer information here on every prion disease listed.
Human Prion Diseases
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)
Fatal Familial Insomnia
Animal Prion Diseases
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Transmissible mink encephalopathy
Feline spongiform encephalopathy
Ungulate spongiform encephalopathy
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage on this subject.
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