Prion Diseases

John Corradi corradj at rockvax.rockefeller.edu
Wed Apr 3 21:53:57 EST 1996


In article <4juhm4$j22 at dfw-ixnews5.ix.netcom.com>, sequitur at ix.netcom.com
(Janet) wrote:

> Fatal diseases (many of a particularly humiliating slowly degenerative
> sort), both genetic and acquired?  Transmissable without the benefit of
> a nucleic acid genome?  Yikes!  Especially if you've ever had a
> transfusion, since these infectious proteins aren't destroyed by heat
> or irradiation.  

Both GSS (genetic) and CJD (sporadic) are >>very<< rare human diseases. 
The only aquired human scrapie disease has been kuru, found only among the
natives of Papua/New Guinea who used to practice ritualistic cannabalism. 
>>IF<< there is a link between BSE (mad cow disease) and CJD, it is most
likely due to passage of infectious agents by direct ingestion of tissue. 
Also remember that cows are fed offal that includes brain and other nervous
tissue, not flank steaks.  Therefore, it makes little sense to worry about
human blood transfusions as a source of prion infection.  Just trying to
keep things on a rational level here.
  
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John Corradi                      |   The opinions expressed above are my 
The Rockefeller University        |   own and do not represent...blah,
corradj at rockvax.rockefeller.edu   |   blah, blah.
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