Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

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According to the World Health Organization, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are "a family of diseases of humans and animals characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain with severe and fatal neurological signs and symptoms."[1] They are "a group of rare degenerative brain disorders characterized by tiny holes that give the brain a 'spongy' appearance. These holes can be seen when brain tissue is viewed under a microscope."[2]

Diseases in the TSE family are believed to be caused by prions, abnormal versions of proteins present in a wide range of mammalian species. The TSE disease family includes[3]:

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