A 56-year-old Chelmsford, Sudbury, Ontario man died just days after being accidentally bitten by his own dog, according to a Sudbury.com report.
He succumbed to an rare infection with the bacteria, Capnocytophaga
According to the report, thinking his dog was having a seizure, he put his hand in her mouth thinking he would help prevent her from swallowing her tongue. She clamped down and bit into his thumb.
He soon starting showing symptoms of fever, sweats and sore joints and was hospitalized and died less than two days after being admitted.
According to the Canadian government, since 1976, approximately 200 human cases of Capnocytophaga canimorsus infection have been reported worldwide.
Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a relatively new reported pathogen (the first case reported more than 40 years ago). It has been isolated from the saliva of healthy dogs and cats.
It is for the most part considered an opportunistic pathogen, causing little problems with healthy individuals, usually causing the most severe disease in those with a predisposing condition; splenectomy, chronic alcohol abuse, or immune system problems (steroid therapy, blood malignancies and AIDS).
Splenectomized individuals are 30 to 200 times more prone to die from bacterial infections because the spleen produces cells that become antibody-producing cells. Also the spleen is integral is sending out macrophages (cells that engulf and destroy foreign substances like bacteria in the bloodstream).
The clinical illness is typically one of severe septicemia, shock and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Other manifestations of the disease include cellulitis, gangrene, meningitis and brain abscesses. The infection with Capnocytophaga carries a 27% chance of being fatal.
This infection should be considered if a person is severely ill after a history of a dog bite (or cat bite) exposure. It is treatable with antibiotics.