Kuru is called the shaking disease, its name derived from the Fore word for “to shake.” Caused by an organism that infects the part of the brain that controls coordination, people afflicted with kuru shake uncontrollably.

First, there is headache and joint pain, then shaking, followed by trouble walking and the inability to walk, stand, or eat. Then dementia sets in. Some lucky victims don’t exhibit symptoms for many years after they are infected, others are affected immediately—but all of them die, usually of pneumonia or malnutrition within a year of showing symptoms.

The disease has been… more

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