Kuru - a disease which affects the brain. It is characterized by headaches, joint pains and shaking of the limbs. The word kuru means "trembling with fear" in the language of the Fore people, the most commonly afflicted people. Trembling is a symptom of dying brain tissue,
The disease spread easily in the Fore people due to the cannibalistic funeral practices of the culture, eating dead relatives as a sign of mourning. The dysmorphism evident in the infection rates (it was more prevalent in women and children) is due to the women eating the brain of the deceased, the most prion-rich tissue, and not just the meat. They would subsequently tend to and prepare meals for the children without disinfecting their hands.