World's Deadliest Disease "Kuru" Has A Fatality Rate Of Almost 100%
Kuru is a rare and fascinating neurological disease that gained notoriety in the 1950s due to its unique transmission method and devastating effects. The world's deadliest disease "Kuru" has a fatality rate of almost 100%.
Unfortunately, millions of people around the world suffer from numerous ailments on a daily basis. Thanks to improvements in medicine and healthcare services over the years, the mortality rate has dropped for the majority of some of the worst diseases in the world, although many still have a significant impact on people's lives. The world's deadliest disease "Kuru" has a fatality rate of almost 100%.
Kuru was first identified among the Fore people of Papua New Guinea in the mid-20th century. The name "kuru" is derived from the Fore word for "shivering" or "trembling," which describes one of the prominent symptoms of the disease. Kuru's significance extends beyond its medical aspects; it also played a crucial role in anthropology and the study of prion diseases.
As per Medline Plus:
[Kuru] is found among people from New Guinea who practiced a form of cannibalism in which they ate the brains of dead people as part of a funeral ritual.- Medline Plus
Although the practice of eating these brains was abandoned in the 1960s, kuru cases persisted for many years after, and the deadly condition continued to claim lives.
Kuru primarily affects the brain and central nervous system. Symptoms include muscle tremors, loss of coordination, difficulty walking, and, in later stages, severe mental impairment. It is a slow-progressing disease, and individuals with kuru typically experience a gradual decline in their health.
The disease has an extremely long incubation period, which can last anywhere from a few years to several decades.
Although the incubation time is typically between ten and thirteen years, there have been occasions where it has been 50 years or even longer. However, once these symptoms start, the person often only lives for a year or two before passing very tragically.
Kuru is classified as a prion disease. Prions are misfolded proteins that can induce other proteins to adopt the same abnormal shape. In the case of kuru, the misfolded prion protein accumulates in the brain, causing damage and neurodegeneration. Prion diseases are notoriously difficult to treat because they lack traditional genetic material like viruses or bacteria.
The decline of kuru is closely linked to changes in cultural practices among the Fore people. As they abandoned cannibalistic rituals and adopted new burial customs, the transmission of the disease drastically decreased. Additionally, public health interventions and medical research helped control the disease.
Since 2010, there have been no documented deaths, and it is unclear who the last victim of the deadly sickness was. According to some accounts, the most recent kuru fatality occurred in 2005, but other sources claim that it happened in 2009.
While it's challenging to determine an exact fatality rate, kuru was indeed a highly lethal disease. The fatality rate was close to 100% because there was no known cure or effective treatment for the disease during its peak. Once symptoms appeared, the disease typically progressed to a severe and terminal stage.
Kuru remains a significant topic of study in the fields of medicine, anthropology, and neurology due to its unique history and transmission method. While it is true that world's deadliest disease "Kuru" has a fatality rate of almost 100%, it is also essential to acknowledge the role of cultural changes and scientific efforts in reducing its prevalence and impact.