Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mad cow disease wipes out family in Spain ...

... damn little prions.
The mother of a Spanish man who died from the human form of mad cow disease has also died from the illness, Spain's Ministry of Health says.

It is believed to be the first case in the world where two members of the same family have died from mad cow disease, said Juan Jose Badiola, director of Spain's national research center for mad cow disease.
What's so damn scary about this disease? Here's what's so damn scary ...
Ten years can pass between eating contaminated tissue and the appearance of the human form of the disease, called variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, health officials say.
Here is a link to the CDC page on prion diseases, of which there are a few.

Prions are not bacteria, they're not viruses, they're not fungi or a mold, or even a parasite. They're abnormally folded proteins which can, once they enter a host and find their normally folded brethren, cause them to refold into the abnormal structure. These proteins, as expected, do not behave in a normal manner, oftentimes precipitating and wreaking havoc in the cell. Since most often these diseases occur in the brain, you can imagine the problem. Currently, if you have a prion disease, you're out of luck. They're always fatal.

Microbiologybytes: Prion Diseases

No comments: