Man's death linked to consumption of squirrel brains

Man's death linked to consumption of squirrel brains

A new report on the 2015 death in Rochester, New York, finds that he may have suffered from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a rare brain condition you've likely heard of as "mad cow disease".

Doctors diagnosed the unnamed man with a degenerative disease caused by the same infection proteins that cause mad cow disease, the Daily Mail reports.

There have only ever been four confirmed cases of the much more serious vCJD.

But it appears a different type of meat may be to blame in this case. His family told doctors he enjoyed hunting and had recently eaten squirrel brains - although it's unclear if he ate the whole brain or squirrel meat contaminated with parts of the brain.

The disease affects about one in a million people each year worldwide, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The neurodegenerative disease is one of the various diseases caused by prion, a kind of protein that exist in the brain naturally and are harmless.

It can also be acquired by eating infected tissue - which is what scientists believe happened when the man ingested the squirrel brains. There is no treatment or cure for the disease.

Symptoms include depression, anxiety, memory loss, personality changes, impaired thinking, difficulty swallowing and difficulty speaking.

Pocahontas Descendant Calls on Warren to Apologize
Native groups, including the Cherokees, who the Cambridge Democrat says she's descended from, have panned the use of DNA tests, . On Monday, Trump first denied ever making such a promise. "I feel betrayed because she wasn't".

Many sufferers lapse into coma and about 70 percent die within a year.

Only four people have ever confirmed to have the disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) captured the public attention in the 1990s when people in the United Kingdom developed the disease from eating contaminated beef in an outbreak of mad cow disease.

Because CJD is so rare, doctors at Rochester Regional Health were surprised when four suspected cases of the disease occurred at the hospital within a six-month period, from November of 2017 to April of 2018.

The team is now working to obtain the patient's medical records to see if a coroner confirmed CJD upon his death.

Chen didn't treat the patient, but she uncovered the case while writing a report on suspected Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases seen at her hospital in the last five years.

The authors note that CJD is only confirmed by testing the brain tissue during an autopsy.

Related Articles