Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) constitute a rare group of neurodegenerative disorders. They are invariably fatal and affect humans and animals. TSEs in animals include transmissible mink encephalopathy, scrapie (affecting sheep and goats), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease), and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of deer and elk. TSEs in humans include Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD), new variant CJD, fatal familial insomnia, Gertsman-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome, and kuru. Each of the TSEs is unique and apparently has a very limited host range, yet they all share characteristics that allow them to be grouped together (94).
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