Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) are a group of diseases that affect the brain and nervous system of humans and animals. The diseases are characterised by a degeneration of brain tissue giving it a sponge-like appearance.
TSEs are caused by a prion (also known as PrPres), which is an abnormal form of a protein (known as PrPc).
TSEs include, among others:
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, including Atypical BSE
- Scrapie in sheep and goats, including Atypical Scrapie
- Chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk and moose
- Transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) in mink
- Feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) in cats
- variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans
With the exception of the infectious agent causing BSE, which can be transmitted to humans through consumption of contaminated meat causing variant Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease, there is no scientific evidence that other TSE diseases can be transmitted to humans.