What is bushmeat?
- The term “bushmeat” refers to raw or minimally processed meat that comes from wild animals in certain regions of the world including Africa and may pose a communicable disease
- Bushmeat comes from a variety of wild animals, including bats, nonhuman primates (monkeys), cane rats (grasscutters), and duiker (antelope).
- Bushmeat is often smoked, dried, or salted (these procedures are not sufficient to render the meat noninfectious).
Bushmeat is illegal
- It is illegal to bring bushmeat into the United States.
- Bushmeat, in any amount, found at US ports of entry will be destroyed along with any personal items that may have come in contact with the bushmeat.
- There is a $250,000 fine for bringing bushmeat into the United States.
Bushmeat and Ebola
- Ebola is a rare and deadly disease that is spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or died from Ebola.
- Generally, Ebola is not spread by food. However, in Africa human infections have been associated with hunting, butchering, and processing meat from infected animals.
- To date, there have been no reports of human sickness in the United States from preparing or consuming bushmeat illegally brought into the United States.
- Bushmeat could be infected with germs that can cause sickness in people, including the Ebola virus.
- Ebola infections in people have been associated with handling and eating infected animals.
- Do not bring bushmeat into the United States.
- Do not eat or handle bushmeat.
- Tell friends and family to avoid African bushmeat, because it is illegal to bring it into the United States, and it can make people sick.
- If you must handle bushmeat, wear disposable gloves. When you remove your gloves, wash your hands with soap and water.
- If you choose to eat bushmeat, make sure it is cooked thoroughly.
Page last reviewed: November 15, 2018