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kuru

Pronunciation: ku'ru

Definition: A progressive fatal spongiform encephalopathy characterized by ataxia, tremors, lack of coordination, and death. Pathologic lesions in the brain include neuronal loss, astrocytosis, and status spongiosus. Found only in the Fore people in the highlands of New Guinea and transmitted through ritual cannibalism. It was initially attributed to a "slow virus" now known to be caused by prions.

See: prion

[native dialect, to shiver from fear or cold]

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.

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