AUSTIN (KXAN) – A 63-year old German man has died after contracting a deadly infection from his dog. According to research published this week in the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine, the man developed flu-like symptoms before showing signs of sepsis and necrosis. Doctors discovered he had been infected with Capnocytophaga Canimorsus, a type of bacteria found in the mouths of dogs and cats. The man died from the infection several days later.
What is Capnocytophaga Canimorsus?
According to the Center for Disease Control, these bacteria are very common, and deaths are extremely rare. Humans have a form of the bacteria in their mouths as well, but don’t get sick unless their immune system is weakened. Infections usually occur after a dog bite, but a dog licking an open wound could lead to the bacteria spreading.
Flu-like symptoms are the first sign of infection, followed by purple spots on the skin, and eventually necrosis. Infections can lead to amputations. Earlier this year, an Ohio woman had her hands and legs amputated after being infected. Last year, a Wisconsin man lost his nose, hands and feet after an infection.
The CDC says you are at a higher risk of infection if you use alcohol excessively, have had your spleen removed, of have been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes or HIV. Cancer patients on chemotherapy are also at a higher risk.
Doctors warn that if you start to develop flu-like symptoms after being bitten by a dog or cat, you should seek help immediately.