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I'm trying to write something at the moment and I have a question about prions, things like Mad Cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The story just basically centers around an infection slowly making a population of a city go mad and violent, like 28 Days Later or The Crazies. I want to write about a prion because most media uses a virus and I want to try something different.

Is there any kind of realistic way a prion could spread realistically around a large city in a relatively short amount of time? Say, a few months maximum? My main concern is that prions don't usually show up in humans for years, even sometimes decades. Also, prions are usually spread through tainted meat and liquids, is it possible for a prion to be airborne? I'm willing to have a "government-made" angle to the prion infection to make it more effective, but I'd like to keep it fairly realistic. If it's not really feasible I'll just use a standard virus or something.
cwd disease in deer is caused by exposuire to high manganese levels and uv.
God I hope so. We need to find a way to keep chuds from eating meat. The ticks aren't working quickly enough.
I asked ChatGPT:

Creating a scenario where a prion disease spreads rapidly through a large city is indeed a challenge due to the nature of prions and their transmission methods. However, with some creative liberties, you can still craft a plausible scenario, especially if you're open to the idea of a government-engineered strain. Here are some points to consider:

1. **Accelerated Incubation Period**: Normally, prions have a long incubation period. For your story, you could posit a genetically modified prion with a significantly shortened incubation time. This would allow symptoms to manifest within weeks or months instead of years.

2. **Airborne Transmission**: Prions are typically transmitted through direct contact with infected tissues, such as brain or nervous system tissue, or through contaminated medical instruments. While airborne transmission of natural prions is virtually unheard of, a genetically engineered prion could be made more virulent and capable of airborne transmission, perhaps through respiratory fluids.

3. **Contaminated Water or Food Supply**: A realistic method of widespread transmission could involve the contamination of the city's water supply or food chain. This could be an intentional act (bioterrorism) or an accidental release of the prion.

4. **Asymptomatic Carriers**: Introducing the concept of asymptomatic carriers who can spread the disease before showing any symptoms themselves would increase the spread rate.

5. **Mutated Prion Strain**: You could introduce a subplot where scientists or government agencies have been experimenting with prions, leading to a mutated strain with atypical and more aggressive characteristics.

6. **Environmental Stability**: Prions are known for their resistance to conventional deactivation methods. A strain engineered to be even more resilient could survive in various environments, aiding its spread.

7. **Human-to-Human Transmission**: Amplify the ease of human-to-human transmission, perhaps through bodily fluids or close physical contact, to make the spread more rapid and threatening.

While these suggestions stretch current scientific understanding, they are within the realm of possibility, especially in a fictional setting where scientific experimentation has advanced beyond our current capabilities. This approach can provide a fresh take on the typical infection-driven narrative while maintaining a sense of realism.
write about aliens teleporting prions into our food and making everyone go mad
You could possibly go the route of ocean exploration disrupting an area where a prion colony was developing in a specific area where it was generally barred from access to other areas to infect. These novel prions begin to infect the sea vegetation (phytoplankton) for its chlorophyll, anything that eats it is infected, spreads rapidly through sealife but doesn't show immediate symptoms. Eventually the prions advance to being capable of using red blood cells to reproduce more efficiently in non-plant life. Any humans eating it experience rapid acceleration of the disease. This is due to phthalate exposure that causes damage to a normally protective gene only found in humans.
damn reading about this is scary wtf
there is obviously no god if eating a burger can turn your brain into paste
The government studied neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimers by forcefully degrading mice brain tissue (just heat the tissue moderately for multiple hours to a few days and shake it a bit) and then injecting it into mice. They tried to create the ultimate alzheimers prion. Kinda like Gain of function and infectivity (due to the cycling tissue extraction, "incubation" and infection) but for alzheimers. Now you have two options: Either the slop somehow reached the sewers and you get a rat epidemic (you can really set the expectations by only mentioning rumors here, people being kind of disturbed by all the rats dying) followed by a zoonotic transmission or you get a zoonotic transmission directly due to researcher error or whatever. I think the sewers story is cooler because then you can also debate about closing them and really create an apocalypse where the sewers break down by human decision (in reality you would just have to boil the water).
honestly, with the added context of todays world, id go for lab grown meat. a *new* process is made that enables large quantities of lab grown meat to actually be made economically, part of the process required is flawed and causes your prions. if you wanted a little meat to your story id make it so that the original meat product that got passed through trials isn't what is mass produced and was fraud. The mass produced process wasn't tested and pushed through fast + massive marketing push. Think every single fast food outlet swapping to it, maybe it actually tastes BETTER than normal meat or addictive so people eat alot of it.

Either this or animal feed, similar story, fast growing animal feed, given to cattle/pigs etc.

For your fast acting thing, i wouldn't lean on that too much, a good story like your trying to build either needs the actual reason to be a mystery which is explored in the book or the first chapter/2 is world building/slow burn start. Maybe the process to get the *thing* accelerates the prion disease or the prion load in the meat is substantially higher so you get to the end result faster.

Realism is nice but you will have to stray into the absurd to make a story like this fit.

Good luck.
Who will be your main character, I wonder?
In my version of the story I would maybe use a researcher on said alzheimers program and even they don't know their stuff is causing the rat epidemic. Instead they go about their way not caring too much about it and realize it only after the zoonotic transmission (maybe because they are asked to analyze the human brain tissue of the first patients as the illness behaves a bit like alzheimers). Also please write before how horrible the rat's condition inside the lab is illness-wise. Then you can get this kind of creepy realization like "fuck, now we transmitted it to humans and there is no way for it to stop" as slowly more and more people are dying from drinking tap water.
Because that might have been unclear in my previous post: The idea is to use the mice as a breeding ground for prions. You take cerebrospinal fluid of a living mice, degrade it, reinject it, wait a few days, take something out again etc.
I liked This Week in Virology (or Neuroscience) and they have a few episodes about prions, so maybe take a look at those.
Of course the gut-brain transfer will be completely made up.

good idea.
Hey, OP here, thanks for the responses and interest on my questions.

So to delve deeper into what I've been planning on writing, the setting is around the mid-2000s in a Northeastern American city. I've narrowed down the source of the prion infection to two origins. Either one involves a modified prion engineered by the government that somehow leaked into the public like what >>15875224 suggested, or a more natural zoonotic transmission originating from deer and CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease, a prion found in deer). Variations of these ideas or maybe some kind of mixture of the two is what I'm trying to figure out for the story. I like the tainted meat angle >>15875368 brought up, but it probably wouldn't fit just due to the time period I want the story to take place in. Lab-grown meat just wasn't available yet, and definitely not for widespread consumption.

Some videos on CWD and how it spreads:

Would a government experiment on prions based on CWD be feasible? Maybe it spreads or was tested on rats like >>15875578 suggests? Would a government-made prion weapon even be worth it? What advantages would a prion have against a virus or bacteria?
>or a more natural zoonotic transmission originating from deer and CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease, a prion found in deer)
no as I said earlier, CWD is caused by mine waste and UV exposure activation
*Or in some cases pine needles with a high Mn content
Generally speaking prion diseases can be transmitted via saliva, so zoonotic transmissions should also be possible.
I don't think there is any advantage for prions in terms of bioweapons, but apparently, contrary to my previous belief, prions are very stable and so can't be killed by moderate heating etc.. Still not that great of a bioweapon.
The problem with transmission is, how does it get into people's brains to infect them and how does it get out to spread? Getting in via food (low dose, long incubation time) might be feasible, but infecting others from your brain seems odd. There's a reason we have so many skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases: we're constantly in contact with other people, more or less directly. And stuff that gives you a cough propels itself to others. Skin stuff that makes lesions or dandruff also helps spread. We don't splatter our brains... wait. How gory should your story be? If the prion makes people dumb and lose their fear of heights, the disease could make others have contact with the brains of the infected.
And prions can linger for a long time. Such a suicide spot could infect hundreds maybe.
Maybe but as an offensive bioweapon, but as in "we're sure the Russians are working on this. We need to find ways to defend ourselves, and for this we need to replicate it in our labs"
It proves that Hinduism is correct
CWD was found to attach to plant matter from deer shit, so that could work if it changes their behavior to shit near farms and any major waterways that go to water treatment where it isn't filtered. That, and something like 70% of US farmland uses "treated" sewer sludge from public sewage and treatment centers to fertilize crops. It's currently a huge issue with the EPA because the treatments used don't adequately remove the grand majority of toxins etc from that sludge, and testing is extremely cucked.
It's all made up BS retard.
BSE in the UK certainly was.
It’s nothing impressive and exceedingly phoned in, but I cannot believe the chucklefuck AI researchers and programmers who even as of just a few weeks ago are still maintaining this is just a Markov chain predicting one word at a time. This is impossible.
Are prions even actually contagious?
We literally eat poisonous plants and don't give a fuck.
>CWD was found to attach to plant matter from deer shit
Not only that, but plants were found to uptake the prions in their circulatory system and transport them to the tops where the prions embedded in the plant tissue. It appears to be some kind of survival technique, the plants intentionally use the prions to reduce deer populations.
This is the plot of the "Rifters" trilogy by Dr. Peter Watts.

I did neuropathology for a while before bailing out of it into family medicine. My personal biggest fear is more along food or medical supply chains becoming contaminated, there is a worrying link between ever having had surgery and prion diseases which may stem from reprocessed medical equipment. I did a few CJD autopsies in a positive pressure suit back in those days. They undressed me with a stick then burned everything.

Good prompts.

Fungal prions haven't been mentioned in media as far as I know but that verges in on the fungoid zombie of "The Last of Us". Use fungi as a vector to just dump prions into the environment so everyone has massive exposure. DeepMind quietly solved most protein folding last year so this could actually be something someone could try and make.

Really putting an effort into this:

1) a viral infection contains an unstable protein that when exposed to certain man-made chemicals misfolds into a novel prion and causes widespread protein misfolding of native human proteins.

2) pick any other protein that can misfold into some beta-pleated sheet abomination and write about that. Hell, maybe it causes issues with muscle function or hepatitis due to the fact your [insert protein here] isn't functioning. Maybe a bit less sexy that a rapid zombie apocalypse.

3) Stretch the timeline out a bit longer and go "The Walking Dead" style "everyone is already infected" and write from the perspective of on of the people aware of the decline. Imagine living in a world where most people go insane and die at 40, hell you could set it in a fully quarantined state or something like that.

Forgive the formatting, I'm on mobile
i used to take hcg when i was on steroids and i read that prions are co-purified from urine with hcg, and it's theoretically possible to transmit CJD that way.

i don't like thinking about it much, even if the odds are very low.
Fatal familial insomnia is prion driven and fits your "rapid" timeline of weeks to months. The northeast US has a lot of military bases.

You could just handwave in the US army was playing around with modafinil analogs to make unsleeping soldiers and suddenly you've induced protein misfolding. Make the drug widespread on bases and have people more likely to die in/near water (think rabies hydrophobia but reveresed) and you could run with that
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Fuck me man that's not what I needed to hear before bed.


Let's hope we were both using recombinate products...
No. They spent a decade doing everything you can imagine trying to "give it" to another cow or being.
They literally injected it directly into thousands of other cows in various different types of cells and never could once get it to do anything.

When you see something like this, you need to understand that it's a cover up.
They funnel enormous research and money into "finding a cause" only when they generally know the causes and don't want them known.
What was it, in your opinion? Was it exposure to a toxic chemical? A biological agent?
What it's always been which is a rare genetic defect found in certain animals.
Why the secrecy/panic over it then?
Sprying them with pesticides.
Feeding them crap.
And of course vaccinating them with shitty vaccines with mercury and aluminium.

Spains Sheep farmers:
>milk, and wool
>rich as fuck
>bankers are annoyed
>make the them inject their sheep with aluminium adjuvanted vaccines
>kills, infertilizes and damages their sheep
>cancer, athritis and neurological disorders appear in the sheep
>cannot procreate anymore
>famers go bankrupt
>extort the land

And a documentary about this:
> it also includes the Gardasil Vaccine

And remember the Mad cows?

>prion diseases
It's caused by neurotoxic pesticides specificly put on cows.
Such as BHC (benzene hexachloride).

They literally rubbed it on cows.
Then cows developed encephalitis.
Then encephalopathy.

It has been withdrawn.



formulations of organophosphate insecticide (containing phthalimide) applied exclusively in
the UK during the 1980s/early 1990s was the primary trigger that initiated the UK's bovine
spongioform encephalopathy epidemic"

The "prion protein" is produced by giving animals neurotoxins.
And the prion protein is not capable of "spread" its a meme.
Read purdey's research on BSE in cattle and organophosphate insecticides. The guy died suspiciously while trying to expose it.
I tend to think it was a distraction from the overall conditions of animals the food supply. I think the cows were in total agony and despair from basically evil third world tier conditions and this became the distraction from that.

Basically they created much ado about nothing when there was plenty ado over in the other direction.
And also some of this, but it became a huge distraction from the fact that you are eating the bottom of the barrel, totally tortured, rotting while alive cows. >>15877191
Wait. Does BSE imply that onions green would lead to prion diseases in humans?

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