Health scare of the week
Death by dog lick
A man has died in Germany after contracting a rare infection from being licked by his dog. The previously healthy 63-year-old dog owner went to a hospital in Bremen suffering flu-like symptoms, leg pain, breathing difficulties, and purpura fulminans, a blood-clotting disorder. His symptoms quickly broadened to include brain damage, kidney failure, and cardiac arrest, and after 16 days of treatment, he died from multiple organ failure. Doctors determined that the infection was caused by Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria that occurs naturally in the mouths of cats and dogs. “[It] usually doesn’t cause any sort of significant disease,” Stephen Cole, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, tells CNN.com. “However, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in the wrong patient…it can lead to severe infections.” Cases are extremely rare and typically affect people with immune, spleen, or alcohol abuse issues. They also usually involve the patient being bitten; in this case, the man contracted the bacteria from a lick alone.