Don’t Eat Road Kill

Don’t eat road kill. Now, for the majority of you out there, this shouldn’t be breaking news. However, to a Minnesota town, this may be important to discuss.

This actually occurred back in 2010 but the article is from MSNBC.com yesterday. The report is about a Minnesota high school environmental science class that was supposed to hunt, process and cook deer for a school project. The article THEN goes on to say that a seventh deer that had been hit by a car was also included and a total of seven deer were included in the project. The deer were butchered on school grounds and then cooked, shish kabob  style.

Really, the utilization and consumption of the deer that had been hit  wasn’t the problem. I am going to assume the animal had JUST died. There is a lovely little website that instructs you on the “How To’s” of safely consuming road kill. One of their better points is to watch out so you don’t eat rabid animals. Hmmm.

The problem that occurred in Minnesota was in the cooking of the meat that had been butchered.  If you sufficiently cook meat, the bacteria that had contaminated the meat during the butchering process will be killed. Killed bacteria cannot harm you. However, the article details the problem that occurred nicely:

the meat had been skewered and cooked only to medium rare. The skewers had dragged contaminants from the meat’s surface down to the center of the kabobs, which hadn’t been cooked to a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria.

29 students out of the 117 that took part in the cook out got ill. The article also discusses that HANDWASHING (or lack-thereof ) by male students who participated in the butchering and cooking event may not have been all that carefully observed. Again, Hmmmm.

The last thing I am going to discuss with this outbreak was the strain of E. coli that caused the problem was not linked to our usual suspect O157:H7.  O157:H7 is a specific strain of E. coli that has the ability to produce a Shiga-like toxin that causes bloody diarrhea as well as  Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (in about 5% of cases). The identification of the different strains of E. coli are based on the gram-negative cell wall and flagella. The strain that caused the problem in this case was O103:H2, which also has the ability to produce the Shiga-like toxin.

But more on that tomorrow.

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