Introduction: subacute spongiform virus encephalopathies from the perspective of a neuroscientist

  • Pawel P. Liberski
Part of the Archives of Virology book series (ARCHIVES SUPPL, volume 6)


Scrapie, a naturally occuring neurodegenerative disease of sheep and sometimes goats [25, 86, 907, 1050], is a prototypic disease for the whole group of the subacute spongiform virus encephalopathies. Kuru (Figs. 1–4) was the first human disease of this type to be discovered in 1957 by Gajdusek and Zigas (Fig. 1) [374, 381–382, 389–390, 508–509], and its discovery opened the whole field in the human biomedical sciences by the very realization of the fact that viruses may induce disease months or even decades after infections, and that these slow virus diseases are more compatible with classical degenerations of the nervous system than with inflammatory disorders of the brain. Incidentally, this viewpoint was a common knowledge in the veterinarian sciences perhaps from the time of transmission experiments of Cuille and Chelle [239–241] and seminal work by Sigurdsson [964].


Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Transmission Experiment Veterinarian Science Scrapie Infectivity Modern Molecular Biology 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pawel P. Liberski
    • 1
  1. 1.Electron Microscopic Laboratory, Department of OncologyMedical Academy LodzŁodzPoland

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