K.B. Kotade*1, S.I. Patel1, S. N. Hiremath2, S.B Somwanshi2, K.B.Dhamak3
1Department of Pharmacology, P.R.E.S.’s, College of Pharmacy, Chincholi, Nashik-422 102.
2Department of Pharmaceutics, P.R.E.S.’s, College of Pharmacy, Chincholi, Nashik-422 102.
3Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, P.R.E.S.’s, College of Pharmacy, Chincholi, Nashik-422 102
Kuru is an incurable degenerative neurological disorder endemic to tribal regions of Papua New Guinea. It is a type of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy’s (TSE), caused by a prion found in human. It is now widely accepted that Kuru was transmitted among members of the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea Kuru via cannibalism. The kuru is actually an infectious disease not caused by a virus, bacterium or parasite. Kuru was caused by what’s called prions. Prions are misshapen proteins which would cause other proteins in the body to lose their shape. It was quite similar to other prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, BSE also known as Mad Cow Disease, and Scrapie. These are all well-known TSE’s or Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy. To put it in easier terms, these diseases would essentially make the victim’s brain spongy and full of holes. It is an extremely rare and fatal nervous system disease. The disease reached its peak during the 1950s and 1960s among the Fore people in the highlands of New Guinea. The Fore people contracted the disease by performing cannibalism during funeral rituals. It is characterized by difficulty walking, swallowing, and chewing. Symptoms also include loss of coordination and muscle twitching. Currently, there are no treatments available for Kuru. Although the disease is now virtually non- existent, Kuru provides a way for researchers to understand other prion caused diseases better.
Keywords: Kuru, Papua New Guinea, cannibalism, Prions.