What is a Prion?

A prion is a small infectious particle composed of abnormally folded protein that causes progressive neurodegenerative conditions. Prions cause several rare diseases, with the most notable being Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease).

In my nursing career of 34 years, I witnessed three patients in Northern Ontario with a prion disease and all three patients died shortly after being admitted to the hospital with neurological symptoms.

All three patients lived in different North Ontario rural areas and had close contact with livestock. Working with infected cattle or eating infected beef or wild game can cause infection.

The problem is that you often cannot tell when there is Mad Cow Disease until the animal or human is in the end stages of infection.

One way to prevent getting Mad Cow Disease is by becoming a vegetarian. I’ve considered becoming a vegetarian but I love my meat too much. I’ll take my chances as this type of infection is rare.

{ Comments are closed! }