Matt Soniak of Mental Floss, answers a reader's question on whether you can get sick if you were to eat a person who had an infectious disease.
The answer? No. You could eat a tumor and not get cancer yourself. And most diseases, even HIV, can simply be cooked out. Anything else would probably be destroyed by our immune system.
This isn't to say that you should whip out the fava beans and Chianti just yet. There are still a few risks that go along with cannibalism. Malaria parasites can spread among mice through cannibalism and blood-drinking, and scientists think that the simian immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis spread among chimpanzees the same way. (However, none of this has been shown in humans, and such a study probably wouldn't pass an ethics board anyway.) It's also possible that people could pick up tapeworms through cannibalism.
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