Man in Germany dies after being licked by dog and contracting rare infectionRita Dune
Man in Germany dies after being licked by dog and contracting rare infection.
Doctors have warned pet owners to seek urgent medical advice if they have unusual flu-like symptoms.
The man who died had been licked by his dog. File pic
A man in Germany has died after contracting a rare infection from being licked by his dog.
Following the case, doctors have warned pet owners to seek urgent medical advice if they have unusual flu-like symptoms.
The previously healthy 63-year-old died from multi-organ failure a few weeks after being licked.
He was infected with capnocytophaga canimorsus – a bacteria founds in the saliva and gums of canines and cats – which can sometimes be transmitted to humans.
If caught, the infection is fatal in around a quarter of cases, according to doctors from the Rote Kreuz Krankenhaus Hospital in Bremen.
They said bite infections caused by capnocytophaga canimorsus are rare. Severe and fatal infections normally only affect people with a suppressed immune system, no spleen, or alcohol problems.
The unnamed man was treated with antibiotics in hospital after experiencing three days of fevers and breathing difficulties.
He also had petechiae (tiny purple, red or brown spots) on his face, and dysaesthesia – nerve damage in his right leg.
The victim was treated in intensive care but could not be saved. File pic
His condition deteriorated as medics tried to work out what was causing his symptoms.
He had been touched and licked by his dog in recent weeks but not bitten or injured.
The man also had acute kidney injury and signs of liver dysfunction and was placed in intensive care, but his condition got worse over the next 30 hours.
He developed encephalopathy (brain disease) and paralytic ileus (intestinal muscle paralysis), and also had a cardiac arrest but was successfully resuscitated.
On his fourth day in hospital, doctors diagnosed capnocytophaga canimorsus from blood tests and they boosted his antibiotic regime.
But his brain began to swell and scans of his abdomen revealed blood flow was being cut off from some organs, including the spleen.
His family and the doctors then decided to cease treatment and life support was turned off as the man succumbed to his infection 16 days after treatment began.
Medics have narrowed down the cause to a lick from his dog.
The medical paper, published in the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine, said pet owners with flu-like symptoms should urgently seek medical advice when their symptoms are worse than a simple viral infection.
In the man’s case, they were severe dyspnoea (breathing difficulties) and petechiae (bleeding beneath the skin).
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