A Wisconsin man has lost both of his legs to a virulent infection after being licked by a dog, according to local reports.
Greg Manteufel, 48, landed in the emergency room after believing he had the flu.
Manteufel's wife, Dawn, said her husband was the picture of health before contracting the bacteria. The disease had made it look as if someone had beat him up with a baseball bat, which had shocked both of them.
However, after doctors conducted several tests, they discovered Manteufel had actually picked up a infection from the bacteria capnocytophaga, which is commonly found in dog and cat saliva. It can in very rare cases, enter the bloodstream through their licks, bites or other close contact.
The infection caused Manteufel's blood pressure to drop, which is why the circulation to his limbs decreased, causing them to turn black. "We can't wrap our heads around it", Dawn said.
Less than 1,000 cases of such infections from non-bite wounds have been documented in North America since doctors began tracking it in the mid-1970s. She said life as they knew it changed forever. Now, after losing both legs and parts of both hands as well as his nose, Manteufel faces a long road to recovery and rehabilitation.
Manteufel contracted Capnocytophaga canimorsus, but there are other species of the bacteria that cause lesser side effects compared to what he had to go through. "This infection in his blood triggered a very severe response on his body", Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, an infectious disease specialist with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, told the Milwaukee Patch. Manteufel also spent his entire life around dogs, which makes the blood infection all the more surprising. These infections are more likely in people over 40 who have an immuno-compromised condition, or in people who excessively use alcohol or who have had their spleen removed, according to the CDC.
The bacteria, called Capnocytophaga canimorsus, "just attacked him", Dawn said, and it did so quickly and aggressively.
"Furthermore, all areas of Greg's body and tissue was affected by the bacteria and the sepsis, the [doctors] say his nose will need extensive repairs, which means he will need plastic surgery to rebuild a new healthy nose", a post on the family's GoFundMe page said.