Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease linked to eating squirrel brains

Man dies of rare disease after eating squirrel brains

A new report says a Rochester, NY., hunter may have developed an ultra-rare brain infection after eating the brains of squirrels he killed, according LiveScience.

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.

Based on an MRI, the unnamed man seemed to have a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a degenerative and fatal brain disorder that is commonly contracted by eating meat from cattle affected by "mad cow disease", doctors found.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is extremely rare, with only four people ever confirmed to have the disease in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The mental deterioration is rapid, usually occurring within a few months of eating the contaminated meat.

The New York Post reports the man had been known by his family to "eat squirrel brains".

The disease is always fatal, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Also the disease is known as mad cow disease.

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The rarest form is acquired CJD, which is when the brain or nervous system tissue becomes infected through exposure - only causing one percent of cases. You might want to pass on the squirrel brains.

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

Most patients suffering from CJD and vCJD die within a year.

According to co-author Dr John Hanna, a medical resident at Rochester Regional Health that number is high when just one million people live in the area. If so, such a confirmation would be highly unusual; only four confirmed cases of vCJD have ever been reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By publishing their preliminary case report, they also hope to raise doctors' awareness of CJD, noting that it took an average of two weeks to diagnose or rule out the disease in their cases.

The disease results from prion proteins that fold abnormally, leading to lesions in the brain.

Doctors at Rochester Regional Health, who wrote the report, noted they were shocked when four of the exceptionally rare suspected cases of CJD were presented between November 2017 and April 2018.

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