The link below is to a very interesting letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, and you should read it to the very end, especially the last paragraph, even though it is difficult reading for those not medically trained.
As I was reading the letter, I was wondering how the hell the tularemia got into the grape must…
Lends new meaning to the notion of a “mousy wine.”
And, not to keep others in suspense, here’s the conclusion:
Sequencing analyses provided evidence of DNA from wood mice (apodemus species) in wine made from sort 1A, and vintners confirmed the occasional presence of rodents in mechanically collected grapes. We infer that an infected rodent may have been collected by the harvester and pressed with the grapes in sort 1A, thereby infecting humans through contaminated must. This outbreak suggests that mechanical harvesting can be a risk factor for the transmission of zoonoses such as tularemia and that raw food stuffs should be treated before consumption.
Question for you docs: Would fermentation address the health issue? Is the article suggesting pasteurization?
I’m sure that fermentation and alcohol would take care of it, although public health officials would probably obsess about removing the wines from circulation. I’m sure there’s all kind of stuff in the wines we drink–what kinds of diseases do fruit flies carry? snakes, mice, a stray rabbit, who knows. Kind of gives perspective to those especially scatalogical tasting notes that folks like Davy Strange would write.