This book consists of the papers and discussions presented at a workshop-symposium sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, National Institutes of Health. The key question under discussion was whether any of the chronic degenerative diseases of the central nervous system of man (such as kuru, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, subacute sclerosing leukoencephalitis, Dawson's inclusion body encephalitis, etc) are caused by infections with "slow" viruses. This question evolved from the observations that scrapie, a chronic central nervous system (CNS) disease of sheep is caused in genetically determined susceptible animals by a slow virus infection with a prolonged incubation period and slow initiation of pathologic processes. Further, kuru, a strange new subacute familial CNS disease of man limited in occurrence to a single linguistic group in New Guinea is remarkably similar to scrapie in its causes and clinical and neuropathological manifestations.
The scope of the book includes