Kuru: A slowly progressive fatal disease of the brain that is due to an infectious agent transmitted among people in Papua New Guinea by ritual cannibalism. Kuru is an infectious form of subacute spongiform encephalopathy and is caused by a tiny infectious particle called a prion. It appears to be similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy ('mad cow disease') and Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease. Also called trembling disease.
Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016