Squirrel brains aren’t for everyone: New York state hunter, 61, dies from CJD

Mary Kekatos of the Daily Mail reports a New York man died after he developed a rare and fatal brain disorder from eating squirrel brains.

In a case report, researchers said the 61-year-old was brought to Rochester Regional Health in 2015 saying he was having trouble thinking, he was losing touch with reality and he couldn’t walk.

(Sounds like me, but I don’t eat squirrel brains; I got a whole other basket of dementia in my future).

Doctors discovered he developed a degenerative disease caused by the same infectious proteins that also result in the more infamous ‘mad cow disease’.

However, it wasn’t contaminated beef that caused this man’s death. 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 findings of the report were presented on October 4 at IDWeek, an annual meeting of infectious diseases professionals, reported Live Science.

Lead author Dr Tara Chen, a medical resident at Rochester Regional Health, told the website she discovered the case while doing a report on cases of the disease seen at her hospital during a five-year period

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative brain disorder that is caused by coming into contact with tissue that has been infected, such as eating contaminated meat.

Amy says squirrel tastes like chicken — if you add ketchup.

Fortunately, she wasn’t into the whole squirrel-brain culture thing.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time