So how did our ancestors, with limited knowledge of biological hazards, process game to avoid these illnesses?
Even without the understanding of microbiology, our forebears figured out which animals were trouble through trial and error. A friend of mine from the Navajo nation told me that no one in his town would ever go near mice. The local lore instructed his people from an early age that mice were the harbingers of death, and that mice are considered helpers of witches and evil spirits. Because of this, mice should be avoided at all costs. That may sound strange, until you realize that Navajo country is ground zero for hantavirus, a potentially fatal mouse-borne virus.