Prion: A small proteinaceous infectious disease-causing agent that is believed to be the smallest infectious particle. A prion is neither bacterial nor fungal nor viral and contains no genetic material. Prions have been held responsible for a number of degenerative brain diseases, including mad cow disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, kuru, and an unusual form of hereditary dementia known as Gertsmann-Straeussler-Scheinker disease.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017