German Dies of Infection from Dog's Lick

Nov. 25, 2019 -- Pet owners should seek immediate medical care if they develop unusual flu-like symptoms, doctors say after a case study about a 63-year-old man in Germany who died of a rare infection contracted when he was licked by his dog.

The infection was caused by capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria, which is commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats, but rarely transmitted to humans, CNN reported.

The case study was published in the Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine.

In May, doctors amputated an Ohio woman's legs and hands after she contracted a capnocytophaga canimorsus infection, likely caused when her puppy licked an open cut, CNN reported.

Last year, a Wisconsin's man nose and limbs were amputated after he contracted the same type of infection.

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," Dr. Stephen Cole, lecturer in veterinary microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, told CNN.

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