NY man reportedly dies after eating squirrel brains

Pearl Mccarthy
October 20, 2018

A NY man contracted an extremely rare and fatal brain disorder after eating squirrel brains, according to a new report of the man's case.

As reported by the United Kingdom news portal DailyMail, that happened in 2015 at a Rochester hospital where the man went complaining of losing his ability to walk correctly, think, and losing touch with reality.

Judging by his brain scans and other tests, the man had likely come down with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a form of the rare and universally fatal neurodegenerative ailment. The disease is so rare that only a few hundred cases have ever been officially reported.

That's what it's called when it's tied to consumption of contaminated beef, but in this case, doctors suspect a different culprit.

The patient's family told doctors he was a keen hunter who had recently eaten squirrel brains.

The authors of the report, led by medical resident Tara Chen, incidentally came across the case, not having treated the man himself. However, two of them turned out to be negative for "mad cow disease", which also revealed the case of the NY man who died after he ate squirrel brains.

There are three forms of CJD: one that is inherited, one that comes from exposure to infected tissue from the brain or nervous system, and one that is "sporadic" and does not appear to have a genetic or environmental cause. Woman Scratched By Cat on Breast Develops Rare Flesh-Eating Disease Called Pyoderma Gangrenosum.

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It is a sister disease of CJD, a similar condition which is nearly 100 times more common.

The rare disease most often affects those around 60 years old.

Only four confirmed cases of vCJD had been reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The high number caused doctors to review all suspected cases at the hospital between 2013 and 2018.

CJD is one of several diseases that are caused by a kind of protein known as a prion.

Of the five cases detailed in their report, however, two were eventually confirmed not to be CJD after all.

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

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