A virus that can make people laugh themselves to death

What is the most poisonous poison? Is smiling half step epilepsy, or a day of death scattered? I believe the battle between Tang Pak Hu and Mrs. Hua must be deeply impressed. But you know what? There really is a virus that, once infected, causes the sufferer to suffer excruciating pain, lose memory and finally die in a frenzy of laughter.

In the 1950s, a strange disease broke out in Papua New Guinea in Oceania, killing more than 200 people a year. At first, people experience headaches, joint pain and uncontrollable shaking. Gradually, people infected with the disease lose mobility and memory, and occasionally burst into hysterical laughter until they die. Locals call this bizarre illness “kuru,” which means trembling with fear.

The unknown disease attracted the attention of a medical scientist, Daniel Carlton Gedusek, who went to live and eat with the people of the kuru tribe, hoping to find out what caused it. He was surprised by the results, which may have something to do with local cannibalism.

It turned out that there was a unique custom in this tribe. When a companion died, tribal people would share the body of the deceased to complete the reincarnation of the soul. And while men tend to eat muscle, women and children tend to eat brains. Gedusek ventured to speculate that this seemed to have something to do with the fact that kuru is mostly affected by women and children.

Gedusek took a piece of the brain he’d been given at the memorial, took it back to his lab and studied it on an orangutan, and it turned out that the orangutan he’d injected with the deceased’s brain was soon showing Kuru’s symptoms. Based on this and a series of other studies, Gedusek says kuru is caused by a virus that invades the brain and nervous system. The virus, it turned out, was a protein molecule called a prion.

Why on earth are prions so bad? Prions aren’t exactly viruses. Unlike other viruses, prions don’t have DNA or RNA, and they can’t make copies of themselves. Prion means protein, so prion is just a kind of similar protein, infectious substances, but it is called “the most terrifying virus”!

Prions are only protein molecules, but they also have the infectivity and pathogenicity of conventional viruses, and mainly harm the brain and central nervous system of mammals and human bodies, resulting in the degeneration and death of brain cells, and eventually replaced by vacuoles, into the shape of sponges. Once infected, the mortality rate reaches 100%.

More incredible is that prions have strong resistance, general ultraviolet radiation, ionization radiation, high pressure, high temperature, as well as formaldehyde, hydroxylamine and other chemical reagents can not take it. Even when prions enter the body, the immune system cannot detect them in time, and stomach acids and proteases cannot digest them and destroy their structure. So, once infected with prions, doctors cannot accurately diagnose them, nor can they stop the spread of the virus in time, which can be said to be incurable.

People infected with it gradually develop headaches, joint pain, tremors, and death by laughing hysterically, known as Kuru. Similarly, animals infected with prions can show signs of limited mobility and hysteria, such as the massive outbreak of rinderpest on British cattle farms in 1980, in which cattle stumbled and trembled as if they were mad. Finally, scientists discovered that the cows’ brains were spongy like those of kuru’s disease, so they called it bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

Prions are scary, but they’re also preventable. We can find that Kuru disease is caused by eating the body of an infected person, the virus infection, after the abolition of cannibalism, kuru disease has not been newly infected, until today, the patients almost completely disappeared; Animals such as mad cow disease and mad sheep disease are infected with prions by eating the body tissue of infected cows.

We do not need to worry, we usually eat regular way to sell meat, is through layers of testing “heart meat”, there is no risk of infection with prions.

So some of your friends might be worried, because there are so many prions out there, are they going to jump to people? Prions do not normally jump from animals to humans, except in diet, some researchers say. So, beware of disease in the mouth, never eat game to start! Because the pathogens carried by wild animals can’t be controlled, you never know which wild animals might be carrying prions

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