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Unbeknownst to the woman, she has developed Kuru disease from eating the infected brain tissue of her deceased husband among others as per tradition. Kuru is a prion disease attacking her brain and nervous system, leaving her struggling to survive.
Eventually, Kuru takes her life. The traditional, cannibalistic funeral ritual will take place once again, increasing the possibility that the disease will spread further throughout tribe members. Since women and children eat the brain, they are most prone to infection.
The Fore tribe stopped eating human remains in the early 1960's, resulting in an eventual decrease in the spread of infection. However, the discovery of Kuru did aid in exploration and prevention other prion diseases, such as mad-cow disease.
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