BREMEN, Germany (CBS Local) — A 63-year-old man has died after contracting a rare infection when he was licked by his dog, doctors in Germany said.
The fatal infection was caused by capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacterium commonly found in the saliva of dogs and cats, but rarely transmitted to humans, according to a report published in the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine.
“He had been touched and licked, but not bitten or injured, by his dog, his only pet, in previous weeks,” according to the paper produced by doctors from the Red Cross Hospital in Bremen, Germany.
The unidentified man, described as “previously healthy” with no evidence of infection, arrived at Germany’s Rotes Kreuz Krankenhaus hospital with flu-like symptoms and labored breathing.
He later developed severe sepsis and gangrene.
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The man was treated in intensive care but the condition metastasized to his kidneys, causing liver failure along with skin rotting and blood clotting.
Doctors and his family eventually turned off his life support and the man died 16 days after his admission to the hospital, according to the authors.
While his case is extremely rare, “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 she contracted a capnocytophaga canimorsus infection, likely caused when her puppy licked an open cut.
And a Wisconsin man’s nose and limbs were amputated last year after he contracted the same type of infection.