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Is ALS Contagious?

A common question about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is whether it is contagious. The short answer is that ALS is not a transmittable illness. Here is why. 

The Reasons Why ALS Is Not Contagious

Unlike infectious diseases, ALS is not caused by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. The following are the other main arguments discussing why ALS is not contagious:

  1. No Infectious Agent: There is no infectious agent that travels between people and causes ALS. ALS is caused by the degeneration of motor neurons  – an internal process, which is not related to external infectious agents.
  2. Genetic Factors: ALS has been linked with genetic factors, especially in cases of familial ALS. These genetic characteristics, however, are not "contagious" in the general sense. They are heritable, meaning that they are passed down from parents to their offspring. Therefore, ALS can be “transmitted” only through genes.
  3. Environmental Factors: While exposure to certain toxins or certain lifestyle choices may play a role in sporadic ALS, these factors by themselves do not make ALS transmissible, since there is no involvement of infectious agents.
  4. Lack of Evidence for Transmission: Research in the field of epidemiology has not provided any proof that ALS can be transmitted from one person to another. The illness doesn't show transmission patterns associated with infectious diseases.
  5. Unique Pathophysiology: Every ALS case is different, and each person's disease progresses in a different way. This specificity serves as additional evidence that ALS is not a contagious disease.
Though it is a serious and difficult illness, ALS cannot be contracted from another person, unless it is inherited. It is important to be aware that ALS is not transmissible in order to support and care for those who are affected without worrying about the disease spreading.

Credits:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Pathology of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

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