Chronic Neurological Diseases Caused by Slow Infections

  • David M. Asher
  • Clarence J. GibbsJr.


Until recently, most subacute and chronic progressive degenerative diseases of the human nervous system were of unknown etiology. They generally occur sporadically, though some are familial. None can be cured. When kuru was found to be caused by a serially transmissible filterable agent,(80) it established that a chronic degenerative central nervous system (CNS) disease of humans was a “slow” infection.(211) Since that demonstration, several other chronic diseases of the human brain have also been attributed to slow infections, either with unconventional self-replicating agents resembling that causing kuru(79) (the nature of which remains disputed(195,202) or with common conventional viruses (Table 1). In this chapter, we review both types of slow infection, beginning with those caused by conventional viruses.


Measle Virus Progressive Multifocalleukoencephalopathy Rubella Virus PRNP Gene Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Asher
    • 1
    • 2
  • Clarence J. GibbsJr.
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Method Development, Center for Biologics Evaluation and ResearchFood and Drug AdministrationRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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