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The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies 

The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
Chapter:
The transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
Author(s):

Richard S.G. Knight

and Hester J.T. Ward

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199218707.003.0068
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date: 19 June 2019

Prion diseases are a group of animal and human diseases having disparate causes, distributions, and clinical pictures, but are unified by a common neurodegenerative pathology, the common central role of the prion protein, and a shared potential for transmissibility (even in those instances where the primary cause is apparently spontaneous or genetic). This potential transmissibility from animal to man (e.g. variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease [vCJD] resulting from bovine spongiform encephalopathy [BSE] dietary contamination) or from human to human (via various means, most recently by blood transfusion) gives these illnesses their specific public health importance.

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