Prion diseases are a group of diseases. A prion is a protein that causes normal proteins in the brain to fold improperly. Prion diseases can affect both humans and animals, and diseased meat products can sometimes spread the infection to humans. Prion diseases are a set of neurodegenerative diseases that affect people and animals equally. They're caused by improperly folded proteins accumulating in the brain, which can affect memory, behaviour, and mobility. Prion diseases are quite uncommon. Scrapie in sheep and goats, BSE (mad cow disease), transmissible mink encephalopathy, feline spongiform encephalopathy, exotic ungulate spongiform encephalopathy, chronic wasting disease in cervids, and spongiform encephalopathy in primates are examples of animal prion diseases. Although rare incidences of atypical scrapie and BSE have been identified, animal prion diseases have primarily been acquired by infection from contaminated feed or exposure to a contaminated environment.
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