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Pathogens 2013, 2(3), 472-505; doi:10.3390/pathogens2030472

Kuru: A Journey Back in Time from Papua New Guinea to the Neanderthals’ Extinction

Department of Molecular Pathology and Neuropathology, Medical University of Lodz, Kosciuszki st. 4, Lodz 90-419, Poland
Received: 19 June 2013 / Revised: 4 July 2013 / Accepted: 12 July 2013 / Published: 18 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prions)


Kuru, the first human transmissible spongiform encephalopathy was transmitted to chimpanzees by D. Carleton Gajdusek (1923–2008). In this review, I briefly summarize the history of this seminal discovery along its epidemiology, clinical picture, neuropathology and molecular genetics. The discovery of kuru opened new windows into the realms of human medicine and was instrumental in the later transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease as well as the relevance that bovine spongiform encephalopathy had for transmission to humans. The transmission of kuru was one of the greatest contributions to biomedical sciences of the 20th century. View Full-Text
Keywords: kuru; prion diseases; neuropathology; D. Carleton Gajdusek kuru; prion diseases; neuropathology; D. Carleton Gajdusek

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Liberski, P.P. Kuru: A Journey Back in Time from Papua New Guinea to the Neanderthals’ Extinction. Pathogens 2013, 2, 472-505.

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