YOU PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH? The perils of performing an infamous medical procedure… with your teeth.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a report that provides yet another reason why you should never castrate a lamb with your teeth.

The report involves a case study of two men who were exhibiting symptoms consistent with Campylobacteriosis, an illness caused by Campylobacter jejuni.  For those of you who are keeping score, the United States Department of Agriculture describes Campylobacteriosis and Camplobacter jejuni as follows:

Campylobacter [pronounced “kamp-e-lo-back-ter”] is a gram negative, microaerophilic bacterium and is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrheal illness in the United States. Campylobacter jejuni, the strain associated with most reported human infections, may be present in the body without causing noticeable illness. Campylobacter organisms can be found everywhere and are commonly found in the intestinal tracts of cats, dogs, poultry, cattle, swine, rodents, monkeys, wild birds, and some humans.

The two men who were the subject of the case study were apparently exhibiting symptoms of the illness.  These symptoms often include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that may or may not contain blood. Reported complications may include meningitis and infrequently, rarely, Guillain-Barre syndrome, a paralysis that results from the body’s immune system mistaken attack upon its nervous system.  An estimated 124 people die from Campylobacter each year.

How did these two men contract the illness?  They probably ate undercooked or contaminated meat or poultry, right?  Uh… no.  According to the report:

… both patients had participated in a multiday event to castrate and dock tails of 1,600 lambs. Both men reported having used their teeth to castrate some of the lambs. Among the 12 persons who participated in the event, the patients are the only two known to have used their teeth to castrate lambs. During the multiday event, a few lambs reportedly had a mild diarrheal illness.

That’s right.  They contracted the illness by castrating lambs.  With their teeth.

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