Recently, a 63-year-old man in Germany died due to multiple organ failure caused due to a rare bacterial infection called Capnocytophaga canimorsus (CC) infection. He contracted the disease after he was licked by his dog. Initially, he developed flu-like symptoms but soon it progressed to kidney and liver dysfunction and later, cost him his life. Well, who would have thought that a dog lick could cause the death of a person. This case was published in the journal European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine.
Soon after the man was hospitalized, he got a serious blood infection and even cardiac arrest. The antibiotics for bacteria like Haemophilus influenza and Streptococci were given to treat his condition, but all were unsuccessful. Later, on the fourth day, the culprit bacteria were identified as Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a Gram-negative bacteria normally found in the mouth of canines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 74% of dogs and 57% of cats have some types of CC bacteria present in their mouth.Causes Of Capnocytophaga canimorsus Infection
Most of the time, the bacteria in dogs and cats cause no problem to the animals as well as humans. However, in a few cases, the bacteria were held responsible for causing respiratory problems, kidney dysfunction and blood infection in humans.
Researchers say that though dogs and cats are somewhat affected by the bacteria, they are not found out in routine testing of pets as such type of bacteria requires special culture methods to get detected.
The transfer of CC bacteria from canines to humans is through their saliva. When the infected saliva of canines come in contact with the broken, burned or wounded skin of a person through scratch or lick, it gets transferred to their body and start causing fatal symptoms. Also, CC is not contagious from one human to another. It only gets transferred from animals to humans.
A study says that CC bacteria produce a toxin which affects the white blood cells of humans. Also, among the multiple strains of CC bacteria found in the oral cavity of dogs, only a few are responsible for producing such toxins. This brings out the fact that only a subpopulation of CC bacteria are pathogenic for humans and not all of them.
Another study suggests that CC bacteria have immunosuppressive characteristics to resist the mechanism of removing pathogens from the body. Thus, when they enter the human body, they start feeding on white blood cells (phagocytes) and hence, develop the potential to continue living in the tissues of humans and affecting them at the same time.
White blood cells are the cells of the immune system which have a defence mechanism against all pathogens entering the human body. During the CC infection when they get compromised, the body's immune system is directly affected which leads to the dysfunction of maximum number of body organs hence, causing the death of a person in most of the cases.Symptoms Of Capnocytophaga canimorsus Infection
Symptoms of CC infection can be seen usually within 3-8 days. They are as follows:
People who have recently undergone splenectomy or alcohol abuse are at greater risk of getting CC infection. However, individuals who have a weak immune system are also at higher risk of getting affected by CC bacteria. Such disorders include the following:
Complications caused due to CC infection include the following:
The CC infection is diagnosed by the following tests:
Treatment methods for CC infection depend on the severity of the condition. They include the following: