reply to post by butcherguy
My focus is really more on neural tissue being consumed or transferred via invasive surgical procedures. ...I believe the people with the
highest risk of prion diseases that cause encephalopathy are people that consume neural tissue from mammals. I can't cite studies, but this is the
feel I have for it.
Yes, prion-infected neural tissue transferred via surgery near the brain would confer the highest risk of prion-related encephalopathies; this has to
do with the point of entry as well as the strain. However, even if prion-infected neural tissue carries the highest levels of infectious prions
compared to other tissues (which does not apply to all prion strains), ingested prions still must travel a long and complicated path to get from the
gut to the brain.
The case of the 38 year-old mom cited above may
be explained by ingestion, but I doubt the teen case can be. I suspect the 16 year-old
originally was infected via epigenetic inheritance, consider airborne
unlikely, think a more rapidly progressive strain must be considered - but most strongly suspect a super-imposed infection (probably flu) allowed
already present prions to use the immune system to spread in the body
My ongoing concern about epidemics and pandemics is precisely that: prions use the immune
system to spread in the body
. Given that infection with prions and other misfolded proteins is widespread, deaths are just the tip of the
iceberg - the real problem is the burden of chronic disease unleashed in survivors.
NOTE: Protein misfolding can result in several different types of diseases
, including diseases that
are infectious, genetic, epigenetic, chronic, degenerative, and almost always debilitating.
Also of interest:
* Longer exposures to prion-containing aerosols are strongly correlated with shortened incubation periods
; with inhalation, exposure
is more important than exposure level
- in contrast to ingestion - when prion-contaminated foods are eaten, the amount or number of
prions affects the speed and degree of disease development.
* Airborne prion infection is independent of the immune system - in contrast to ingestion - when prion-contaminated foods are eaten, the
prions use the immune system to spread in the body