WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A man in Germany who contracted a rare bacterial infection after he was licked by his dog has died.
- The 63-year-old man’s death was caused by capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacterium that is usually found in the mouths of dogs and cats, according to the report.
- The incident prompted medical professionals to caution pet owners to be aware of any unusual symptoms.
A 63-year-old man in Germany has died after contracting a rare bacterial infection after he was licked by his dog.
The case prompted doctors to caution pet owners to be aware of any unusual symptoms and to seek urgent medical care if they exhibit unusual flu-like symptom. The case has been published in a paper in the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine.
According to the report, the man’s infection was caused by capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacterium found in the mouths of dogs and cats.
The bacteria can be transmitted through an animal bite, but the German had not been bitten.
“He had been touched and licked, but not bitten or injured, by his dog, his only pet, in previous weeks,” reads the paper.
The man initially reported flu-like symptoms then later developed severe sepsis and purpura fulminans, an acute disorder that causes blood spots, bruising and discoloration of the skin as well as necrosis.
The man’s health continued to deteriorate even after he was treated in intensive care. He later died from multiple organ failure, according to the report.
“Pet owners with banal, for instance flu-like, symptoms should urgently seek medical advice when symptoms are unusual,” wrote the doctors.
In May, an Ohio woman’s legs and hands were amputated after contracting a rare infection from the bacteria capnocytophaga canimorsus. According to doctors, the infection probably occurred when her German shepherd puppy licked an open cut.
Last year, surgeons amputated parts of a Wisconsin man’s nose and limbs, including both hands and feet, after the same bacteria capnocytophaga canimorsus got into his body.
The type of bacterium, capnocytophaga canimorsus, is “completely normal flora of a dog’s mouth and usually doesn’t cause any sort of significant disease. However, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in the wrong patient … it can lead to severe infections — but very, very rarely,” said Dr. Stephen Cole, a lecturer in veterinary microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.