When or if the meat was infected;

When I first started this book, I didn’t think there was anything for me to worry about, considering I don’t eat dead people, or people for that matter. As I continued reading the book, I learned that not only could the animal meat I eat be infected, but the vegetables I eat that are fertilized with bone meal from infected cattle. Although kuru is confined to the Papua New Guinea area, other TSEs and BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) can affect anyone just by sprinkling some bone meal over your roses without wearing gloves or a mask. I really enjoyed how Rhodes presented all of the information and research following kuru, TSE and other progressive brain diseases in a way that kept me engaged. He started the book with such an impressive and eerie story following the Fore and their preparation for eating the dead. A dead woman is carried down to her garden, bordered with flowers where women and children sat around and began to feast on the woman. I felt so uncomfortable reading while reading this, because just the fact that it has been a tradition to eat dead bodies for years is quite disturbing and it gets worse when the children eat also. It made me very skeptical towards buying meat and veggies from the store because when buying from supermarkets, I’m not sure if the veggies were fertilized with bone meal that could be contaminated or if the meat was infected; and with these deadly diseases not having any cures, I’m afraid of taking the risk. My cousin’s boyfriend used to live in Papua New Guinea and mentioned to me about a disease a tribe would contract from cannibalism, so I chose this book to acquire some more knowledge on the subject. The book also references to scrapie quite often, and while I have heard of the disease, I never knew much of the details about it other than it is contracted by sheep and causes them to itch so badly that they “scrape the wool off their flanks rubbing themselves against walls, trees, and fences for relief. Infected sheep also stagger, develop tremors, go blind fall down and eventually die.” (Rhodes 58). Gajdusek worked with veterinary Bill Hadlow to establish connections with scrapie and kuru. It was interesting to me to read about the similarities of two diseases that essentially affect two different species- sheep and humans. Hadlow reviewed Gajdusek’s images of brains affected by kuru and noted the similarities such as the spongy holes in the brain. It’s interesting to me that there were two doctors studying seemingly different diseases in different species, only to find they were extremely similar and neither had an explanation of what they were caused by. Rhodes ended the book with an eerie passage: “You know the bone meal that people use on their roses?” Gajdusek asked me then. “It’s made from downer cattle. Ground extremely fine. The instructions on the bag warn you not to open it in a closed room. Gets up your nose.” The Nobel-laureate virologist who knows more than anyone else in the world about transmissible spongiform encephalopathy look at me meaningfully. “Do you use bone meal on your roses?” I told him I did. He nodded. “I wouldn’t if I were you.” I feel like this was the perfect ending to a terrifyingly true story, to show that even just using something that the average person would use can cause a deadly, incurable brain disease. To conclude, I’m very happy with this read. I am not a big reader but this book was easy for me to get into. I also liked that there was a glossary in the back of the book to refer to if you run across a word you do not know the meaning. The book provided information that was easy to read and also applied to some of the material we have learned in AP Bio, mainly when referring to prions, viruses and how they’re transmitted. I even some of the material from the book to study for the chapter 10 test in class.