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Spongiform Encephalopathy and Kuru in Montana Name Institutional Affiliation Abstract In the world health history, acellular infectious agents have been known to cause the most contagious infections that pose a great challenge in their dissemination and containment. Viruses, prions, and viroids utilize their host’s cellular composition to survive and spread pathogenic diseases. Although they fall under the same class of acellular infectious agents with viruses, prions differ in their cellular composition in that they lack nucleic acid; that is, they have no RNA or DNA. This essay assesses the epidemiology of prions which are known to cause neurodegenerative diseases in mammals. In particular, I will assess the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) disease in cattle and variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD). Also, the paper covers the spread of an outbreak of BCE in an animal ranch in the Washington state, Montana. Further, an analysis of the etiology of the diseases in the ranch follows as well as recommendations for the farm management on how to successfully contain the outbreak and treat the affected organisms. Key Words: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD), prion, etiology, and epidemiology. Introduction In the history of biological scientific research, scientists have had a long debate with a consensus that it was impossible for infectious pathogens to spread diseases without using nucleic acids. However, biologist Stanley Prusiner, a Novel-Prize winner, pioneered the research to prove that infectious agents can spread infections without using either RNA or DNA (genes) (Simons et al., 2017). For instance, prions are

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