Tests indicated that this was a "probable" case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a fatal brain condition caused by infectious proteins called prions, because of the MRI finding and a test that showed specific proteins in the patient's cerebrospinal fluid, which often indicate the disease.
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.
That's what it's called when it's tied to consumption of contaminated beef, but in this case, doctors suspect a different culprit.
However, the medical personnel could not link the man's situation to anything, that until the family of the NY man admitted he was a hunter and had recently eaten squirrel brains.More news: No problem if I don’t go to Spain - Hazard
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.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a progressive neurological disorder that affects only about 1 in a million people each year worldwide, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Also the disease is known as mad cow disease.
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.
Though current tests can distinguish vCJD from the classical form of the disease, Chen told Live Science that it's unknown whether the man was definitively diagnosed with CJD.
What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)?More news: Fed plans to keep hiking interest rates despite Trump blowback
Usually symptoms begin to appear around age 60 and approximately 70 percent of sufferers die within a year.
According to relatives, he got a disease from proteins and not from cows.
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.
Just four confirmed cases have been reported in the U.S.More news: Trump speaks to Saudi prince on Khashoggi disappearance