Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
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Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease linked to eating squirrel brains

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease linked to eating squirrel brains

The 61 year-old man's unusual death was highlighted in a recent medical report which explained how eating the rodent offal caused tiny holes in the victim's brain.

According to a report presented at IDWeek-which discusses infectious diseases-the unnamed man developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Only a few hundred cases of vCJD have ever been reported, majority in the United Kingdom; just four cases have ever been confirmed in the US.

Dr Tara Chen, a medical resident at Rochester Regional Health, said in the report it was unclear if the man ate the entire squirrel brain or squirrel meat that was contaminated with brain.

There are three forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and one form, which includes vCJD, is caused by exposure to infected tissue from the brain or nervous system tissue.

The man, who first complained of symptoms in 2015, was ultimately found to have an extremely serious and very rare brain disorder as a result of loving squirrel meat. Woman Scratched By Cat on Breast Develops Rare Flesh-Eating Disease Called Pyoderma Gangrenosum.


Usually symptoms begin to appear around age 60 and approximately 70 percent of sufferers die within a year.

Most people who contract it only live around a year. There is no treatment or cure and no known way to prevent sporadic CJD.

The high number of suspected cases forced doctors to review all the cases recorded at the Rochester Regional Health hospital between 2013 and 2018.

According to relatives, he got a disease from proteins and not from cows. With many fatal brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's, doctors can only be sure of the diagnosis by examining the brain after death.

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

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