The disease Kuru first appeared during the 1950s to 1960s. It mainly occurred in the New Guinea region. A person can develop Kuru from consuming a family member’s dead brain tissue. Another way an individual can acquire the disease is through contact with opened sores or wounds present. Kuru can be considered a prion disease due to the fact it is part of a class of infectious diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies(TSE).
One major difficulty associated with Kuru is that it has a long incubation period. That is, a person who has developed this disease will not show any symptoms for years, sometimes even decades. Some of the first symptoms an infected person will encounter are unsteady gaits, tremors, and slurred speech. Also, having this disease could often cause changes in moods. Then, after some time has passed, an infected individual may be incapable of eating or standing due to the other severe symptoms mentioned.
Finally, within six to twelve months after symptoms appear, the infected person would over go a comatose state, shortly leading to his or her death. Unfortunately for the diseased victims, Kuru has no treatments to cure or control the symptoms.
On a more positive note however, since cannibalism has become illegal in modern society, the amount of infected individuals has decreased, as well as the disease itself. In fact, today Kuru has become basically non-existent. Yet, that said, there is still a possibility that the disease continues to exist and may infect others if proper precautions are not taken. Works Cited NINDS Kuru Information Page. (2013, May 1). Retrieved May 18, 2013, from National Institute of Neurolgical Disorders and Stroke: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/kuru/kuru.htm