Prion Diseases

By: Madi McGowan and Allie McKeehan


Pathogen: Abnormally folding proteins called prions.

First Identified: In the 1730's, Scrapie, a disease that affects sheep and goats was discovered.

Symptoms of Prion Diseases:


- Personality Changes

-Anxiety and Depression

-Slurred Speech

-May become mute


-everyday skills could be lost

-disturbance in balance

-Jerky Movements


-Difficulty Swallowing

-Double Vision


-Coritical Blindness


How is it Spread?

Prion diseases can be inherited, arise spontaneously, or can be found in contaminated food. They are not contagious.

Forms of these diseases:



-Gersman-Straussler-Scheinker Syndrome

-Fatal Familial Insomnia





These disease became more well known when Mad Cow Disease and Chronic Wasting Disease became more of an epidemic in cattle and deer in the UK and America. BSE/Mad Cow probably originated by feeding cattle meat/bone meal that contained BSE infected products from spontaneously occuring cases.


-Single-use kits for spinal taps

-Destruction of surgical tools used on the brain or nervous tissue.

-Restrictions on food supply, especially cattle.

-Vaccines and Insulin are monitored


-No cure for Prion diseases, only treatments for some symptoms, and most drugs are experimental.

-Quinacrine reduces growth of abnormal prion proteins.

-Pentosan Polysuphate (PPS) delays onset of prion diseases.

-Some medications can be used to aid with behavioral or sleep disturbances.

CJD Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease - Mayo Clinic