West Nile Virus and Wild Game Meat

West Nile virus infects humans when they are bitten by an infected mosquito or through blood transfusion or organ donation. But, we should also still be careful of the things around us, like for instance, the food we eat.

WNV infection risks from eating an infected game animal

According to the CDC there is no evidence that people will be infected by the West Nile Virus if they eat infected meat.

However, food, especially game meat should be handled and cooked properly because several food-borne diseases can be gotten from eating uncooked, undercooked or improperly handled meat.

WNV infection risks from eating dried uncooked meat

As of now, studies are yet to be published on this issue. Most studies report that although mammals can get infected by the virus, they do not develop high concentrations of the virus in their blood or tissues.

Though it is nearly impossible that dried mammal meat will retain much WNV virus and is likely that gastrointestinal digestion would further diminish the risks, the fact is that there is still very little evidence to determine if dried meat is presents a risk of WNV infection to humans (or other animals).

WNV risk for game hunters

Game hunters may be more at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes because they are exposed to the outdoors.

To protect themselves from being infected, they should exercise proper care and use the necessary precautions when handling wild animals. They should also apply insect repellent both to skin and clothing to prevent mosquito bites. Use protective clothing when handling and cleaning animals, such as gloves to prevent blood exposure.

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