Kuru is a neurological disease endemic to the Papua New Guinea region. It is widely passed among the local tribes and is believed to be the cause of the zombie outbreak in Dead Island. Doctor Robert West needs a non-mutated strain of this disease to work on a cure. Doctor West also believes that people with O Negative blood are insusceptible to the infection. The variant of Kuru found on the island of Banoi that created the infection outbreak is actually a stronger and altered variation of the disease, which the members of the Consortium came to name Pathogen HK.


According to Emily White's research prior to her death, she managed to document symptoms of Kuru from patients at the Prison. From what she observed during an autopsy, it is discovered that virus contained strains of HIV as well as the contraction of spongiform encephalopathy (also known as prion diseases). The effects of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy include the deterioration of physical and mental capabilities. Side effects include gradual memory-loss (which can be seen in the late stages of Roger Howard's transformation) as well as a sensation of intense and indescribable pain. From what was observed from Emily White during her stages of transformation, the disease eventually causes slurred speech and eventually total loss of verbal communication.

From research of the actual disease, Kuru, as well as spongiform encephalopathy, it is possible that the population outside of the jungle areas (Royal Palms Resort, Moresby, etc.) contracted the new strain of the disease from the consumption of livestock that made their way into the mass populations food supply. Thus, explaining how the infection managed to spread into the resort without detection. As for the native tribes, the disease is widely accepted and transmitted via cannibalism.


  • Kuru is a real disease that is found among the Fore, a tribe native to Papua New Guinea that is known to practice cannibalism. It is also known as "Laughing Sickness", due to the laughter like, painful spasms it causes in its victims.