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A fatal degenerative disease of the brain caused by a prion, formerly found among certain peoples of New Guinea and transmitted by the consumption of human flesh during mortuary rites.

[Fore (language of eastern Papua New Guinea).]


(Pathology) a degenerative disease of the nervous system, restricted to certain tribes in New Guinea, marked by loss of muscular control and thought to be caused by a slow virus
[C20: from a native name]


(ˈkʊər u)

a fatal disease of the nervous system, resembling scrapie in sheep, reported among highland New Guinea peoples who ritually eat the brains of their dead kin.
[1955–60; < Fore, a language of the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New GuineaPapuan]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.kuru - a progressive disease of the central nervous system marked by increasing lack of coordination and advancing to paralysis and death within a year of the appearance of symptoms; thought to have been transmitted by cannibalistic consumption of diseased brain tissue since the disease virtually disappeared when cannibalism was abandoned
nervous disorder, neurological disease, neurological disorder - a disorder of the nervous system
References in periodicals archive ?
In describing the most famous case of the cannibal's disease, the Fore tribe in Papua New Guinea where women and children were dying off in the 1950s and 1960s, (http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/09/06/482952588/when-people-ate-people-a-strange-disease-emerged) NPR &nbsp;says the flesh-eaters would start having trouble walking, and from there it was a rapid descent into losing control over their limbs and emotions - "which is why people called it the 'laughing death.'" By a year later, the afflicted "couldn't get up off the floor, feed themselves or control their bodily functions."