Wisconsin man contracts rare blood infection from dog lick

Henrietta Strickland
August 3, 2018

A favorite activity of his was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

In a shocking development in the United States, a painter named Greg Manteufel developed a bacterial infection after a dog licked him.

Through a blood test, doctors diagnosed the Wisconsin resident with an infection caused by Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria often found in dog and cat saliva. Doctors pumped him with antibiotics to stop the infection, his wife said, but clots blocked the flow of blood to his extremities, causing tissue and muscles to die.

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). To save his life, the doctors had no choice but to amputate his legs from the knee down, and then his hands.

She said her husband was heading into the operating room again on Thursday and still had three more surgeries to go, but that he was looking forward to being fitted for prosthetic limbs.

"He loves dogs. He would touch any dog; he doesn't care", she said of her husband of 15 years.

Her husband was diagnosed with a blood infection caused by capnocytophaga, bacteria that is common in the saliva of cats and dogs but nearly never leads to illness, said Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, an epidemiologist with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, where Manteufel is being treated.

"His words are, 'It is what it is, '" Dawn Manteufel said.

"There's no negativity from him so far".

They plan to move back to Greg's parents' one-level home temporarily so that he can move around easily.

Eventually, she said, she and her husband will have to sell the two-story house they've lived in for 18 years and move elsewhere.

Dawn added that he may have to go through a nose reconstruction surgery because the lack of blood has caused it to turn black.

"There's no choice. We have no choice but to be positive and make the best of it", said Dawn Manteufel, who had used all her vacation days from her job as a correctional officer at Washington County Jail in West Bend.

It is also noted that Capnocytophaga canimorsus is commonly transmitted by dog bites and is life-threatening to those who suffer from alcoholism or asplenia, which refers to the absence of normal spleen function. Symptoms typically worsen rapidly.

"Greg is going to need several more surgeries, lots of healing time and his family by his side to get thru this life changing event", Manteufels' GoFundMe page stated. His forearms were amputated two weeks later, his wife said.

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