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Slow Virus

more about Slow Virus


  • These are viruses like particles that cause disease with long intervals (usually years) between infection and disease.  The slow viruses usually cause a slow deterioration of the central nervous system (the brain).  This can result in Dementia, sleepiness, muscle jerks, and Seizures.  These diseases can progress to death.

  • Kuru -- unsteady balance and difficulty with movement, coordination, tremors, difficulty with speaking, and emotional problems
  • Creutzfield -- Jakob Disease is rapid progressing Dementia that causes muscle jerking, sleepiness, walking or balance difficulties, and the loss of ability to speak.
  • "Mad Cow" Disease is similar to Creutzfield-Jakob, but less severe.  Occurs in younger individuals, and is transmitted by contaminated beef.
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis -- causes Dementia and Seizures.  Unfortunately, it is usually fatal.
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy -- causes Dementia, clumsiness, leg weakness, vision problems, and difficulty with understanding and speaking.

  • Kuru-virus found in New Guinea.  No longer seen since cannibalism has been abandoned
  • Creutzfield-Jakob Disease -- the cause is unknown, and occurs in primarily middle aged and elderly individuals
  • "Mad Cow" Disease -- found in Britain in the 1990's.  Transmitted to humans by cows.
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis is associated with the Measles virus.
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy is caused by the JC virus, and seen in those with AIDS or immunosuppression.

  • History and examination
  • An MRI and EEG may be helpful

  • Currently, there is no cure.
  • The Measles vaccine (usually given as the MMR vaccine) may protect against Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis




more about Slow Virus


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