Scrapie-associated fibrils, first observed in brains of scrapie-infected mice, were also observed in scrapie-infected hamsters and monkeys, in humans with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and in kuru-infected monkeys. These fibrils were not found in a comprehensive series of control brains from humans and animals affected with central nervous system disorders resulting in histopathologies, ultrastructural features, or disease symptoms similar to those of scrapie, kuru, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. These fibrils are also found in preclinical scrapie and in the spleens of scrapie-infected mice; they are a specific marker for the "unconventional" slow virus diseases, and may be the etiological agent.