Master dies of infection after cuddling with dog

Master dies of infection after cuddling with dog

In an exceptional medical case, a man in bremen died from an infection after cuddling his dog.

The 63-year-old patient was found to be infected with the bacterium capnocytophaga canimorsus, which is found in dog saliva, according to the doctors at the RKK red cross hospital in hanseatic city, germany.

The man was hospitalized in august 2018 with signs of severe blood poisoning. He died of multiple organ failure about two weeks later despite treatment with antibiotics, doctors write in the european journal of case reports in internal medicine. The man had previously been licked by his dog, but not bitten.

The risk of infection from animal bites is well known. The infection can also occur through licking, when the pathogen enters small skin defects, the RKK reported. When the disease becomes severe, risk factors such as a weakened immune system, alcoholism or a splenectomy usually play a role, said martin langenbeck, chief physician of the emergency department at the RKK. The patient from bremen, however, did not belong to any of these risk groups.

The RKK emphasizes how rare this particular case is. Worldwide, only one other patient with such a severe course of the disease is known so far, who was neither bitten nor has a weakened immune system auies.

The hospital therefore did not want to set up rules of conduct that it is better not to cuddle with your pets or let them lick you. "But if you get symptoms that are very strange, and you have a pet, you should tell the doctor," a spokeswoman told dpa on thursday.

The pathogen capnocytophaga canimorsus is often found in the oral mucosa of dogs and in the oral cavity of cats, as lisa sprague of the friedrich-loeffler-institute in jena explains on request. In very rare cases, it has also been found in rabbits.

"Human infections have occurred in the united states, canada, europe, australia and south africa," said sprague, who researches zoonoses. Zoonoses are diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans. Infection with capnocytophaga canimorsus is extremely rare according to all studies, but causes severe disease, sprague said. The loffler institute specializes in animal diseases.

The bremen chief physician langenbeck concluded: "always have animal bites cleaned and treated by a doctor, so that as few germs as possible get into the wound and the risk of severe septic processes is reduced!" In case of animal bites, people at high risk of infection should receive antibiotics. The question of general prevention with antibiotics after dog or cat bites has not been conclusively answered.


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