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Timeline on Human Biology website HERE. (In print form below).

1732: Scrapie is first documented in sheep ,

1920: H.G. Creutzfeldt first describes the disease later known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD); and a year later, A. Jakob describes 4 cases with similar clinical outcomes (2 of which were actually CJD).

1938: Scrapie is shown to be infectious among sheep.

1976: American virologist and pediatrician Daniel Carleton Gajdusek is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work with kuru and Fore tribe’s culture of eating the brains of their dead.

1982: Stanley Prusiner and Bolton discover the infectious agent in scrapie is a purified protein, not a virus.

1985: CJD is linked to human growth hormone (hGH) supplements after patients who received hGH from the U.S. National Hormone and Pituitary Program suffered neurological degenerative disorders. 

November 1986: First report of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, in the UK.

1989: First BSE case reported outside of the UK.

1989: PrP mutation causing Gerstmann-Straussler syndrome found to have genetic links.

1994: The first cases of vCJD in teenagers and young adults were identified in Great Britain in 1994. More than 165 teenagers and young adults have died of vCJD in Britain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and France. Although the average age of vCJD patients is 26 years, the youngest patient was 12 years old and the oldest was 74 years of age. The median duration of illness was 13 months, with the range from 6 to 69 months.

To date, all vCJD cases have been reported from Britain, except for nine cases in France, one in Italy, one in Ireland, one in Portugal, and one in the United States. The U.S. case is a 23-year-old woman, who is believed to have been exposed to bovine prions while living in Britain during the first 12 years of her life.

1997: Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D. is awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his discovery of “prions”, a term he coined from “proteinaceous infectious particles”.

2004: Canadian TV series, Regenesis, a medical-thriller type show, debuts an episode on a mysterious prion disease.

Woolhouse M.E.J, Coen P, Matthews L, Foster J.D, Elsen J.M, Lewis R.M, Haydon D.T, Hunter N. A centuries-long epidemic of scrapie in British sheep?

Parry, H. Scrapie disease in sheep. Academic Press; London: 1983.

The National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit (NCJDSU), UK.

D. Carleton Gajdusek.

Prusiner SB, Bolton DC, Groth DF, Bowman KA, Cochran SP, McKinley MP. Further purification and characterization of scrapie prions. Biochemistry 21(26):6942-50. 1982.

MMWR. Fatal degenerative neurologic disease in patients who received pituitary-derived human growth hormone. MMWR Weekly 34(24): 359-60,365-5. 1985.

Hsiao K, et al. Linkage of a prion protein missense variant to Gerstmann-Straussler syndrome. Nature 1989; 338: 342-345.

Will RG, Ironside JW, Zeidler M, et al. A new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the UK. Lancet 1996;347:921–925.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “NIH Grantee Stanley B. Prusiner Wins Nobel Prize” 6 Oct 1997.