Kuru is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy that was first discovered in the Fore people. Until the early 1960s, kuru was fairly common in Papua New Guinea. This is because people would preform ritual cannibalism, a practice that was common in the Fore people. Kuru probably started when prion-contaminated tissues from a person with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease were eaten. Kuru was more common among the female members of the tribe, due to them being given the brain, the most infectious part. PrPres is most concentrated in the brain. After the 1950s, ritual cannibalism was banned. This resulted in kuru being mostly eliminated. However, some cases occurred in the 1990s. This is because the disease, like all TSEs, can incubate for up to 60 years.
The first symptoms of kuru include loss of coordination (ataxia), difficulty walking, and shaking (tremors) that resembles shivering (kuru means to shake). Involuntary movements and stiff muscles, as well as random mood changes and laughing happen next. Most people with kuru die within 24 months after symptoms appear, usually as a result of pneumonia or infection due to bedsores (pressure sores). There is no cure for kuru.