Relle Veyér (kaerstyne) wrote in little_details,
Relle Veyér

Cannibalism and Prion Disease

Basically, I want to give a character Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or a disease fairly similar to CJD. I'd like the character to contract the disease by ingesting human blood or raw flesh, but as that's not exactly the most common way to get it, I'm having trouble finding the information I need. I know prions can be passed through eating human brains, and I found a few instances of vCJD being contracted through blood transfusions, so I'm assuming that drinking the blood directly could also cause it (I could be totally wrong on this point). But, my specific questions are:

1) Would the person whose blood/flesh he consumed absolutely have to have already had the disease for him to get it, or could the victim be a relatively healthy person?

2) How much blood/flesh would he have to ingest to get the disease? Could it be a one-time occurance or would it have to happen regularly?

3) About how long would it take for him to start showing symptoms after he contracts the disease? (I've found information that ranges from a few months to fifty years, and I realize it depends on the exact type of disease he has, but some kind of approximate range based on how he contracted it would be helpful.)

I've searched various combinations of "blood", "cannibalism", "creutzfeldt-jakob", "cjd", "prion disease", and "kuru" on Google, as well as looking at the Wiki pages for CJD, Kuru, and Prions, the CJD Foundation, and a few medical articles about Kuru disease.

The setting is modern-day, in a well-populated urban city -- country unspecified, but basically it's not Third World. It's fantasy enough that I don't mind fudging things if I have to, but I'd like to be as believable as possible.

Thank you in advance for anyone with any input!
Tags: ~cannibalism, ~medicine: illnesses (misc)

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