Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

New York Hunter Contracted Rare and Fatal Disease After Eating Squirrel Brains

A man has died of a rare disease after eating squirrel brains likened to mad cow disease A man has died after he developed a rare and fatal infectious disease from eating squirrel brains likened to mad cow disease. Source GettyMore
Anna Jefferson | 20 October, 2018, 00:45

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

The 61-year-old man was taken to a hospital in Rochester, New York in 2015, after his ability to think, recognition and motor skills diminished.

An MRI of the man's head revealed that the scan was the same as those seen in people with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a fatal brain condition caused by infectious proteins called prions. The disease is so rare that only a few hundred cases have ever been officially reported. The man was, as Live Science reports, an avid hunter and may have inadvertently mixed some contaminated brain matter from a squirrel he had killed with the rest of the meal.

The authors of the report, led by medical resident Tara Chen, incidentally came across the case, not having treated the man himself.

The incurable neurological disorder 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.

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During this review, they found the case of the man who ate squirrel brains.

Symptoms of CJD usually begin to appear around age 60 and include depression, anxiety, memory loss, personality changes, impaired thinking, difficulty swallowing and difficulty speaking. There is no treatment or cure and no known way to prevent sporadic CJD.

Doctors at Rochester Regional Health wrote in the report that they were shocked when four suspected cases of CJD were presented between November 2017 and April 2018 because the disorder is so rare.

Doctors discovered the man had developed a rare degenerative disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

The infection is always fatal, and most who get the disease live around a year. Although the patient passed away after his diagnosis, Chen and colleagues are working to obtain access to his medical records to see if CJD was confirmed at autopsy.

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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