Wisconsin woman’s death linked to bacteria from dog saliva, doctors believe

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(8/13/18) A Wisconsin woman’s death has been linked to dog saliva that caused a rare infection that spread to the rest of her body.

In June, Sharon Larson, 58, was rushed to the hospital days after her new puppy nipped her hand, causing a small cut.

Within two days of arriving at the Wheaton Franciscan hospital in Franklin, Larson died of an infection that doctors believe was transferred from the dog’s mouth.

“I was told she could get struck by lightning four times and live, win the lottery twice,” said Sharon’s husband Dan Larson to Fox 4. “That’s how rare this is supposed to be.”

The doctors tried general antibiotics, but according to her husband the medication “didn’t do anything.”

“I feel like I got robbed. Lost my right arm. My best friend,” Dan Larson said to FOX4.

Larson’s daughter, Stacy Larson-Hruzek, added on Facebook that she “loved [her] mother with all of [her] heart,” and urged anyone bit by a dog to follow the CDC’s guidelines and contact them immediately.

Doctors told the grieving widower that his wife tested positive for capnocytophaga, a bacteria found in most cats and dogs that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “rarely” spreads to humans and cause illness — but when it does it can be deadly.

However, the rare infection has popped up twice in the state this summer.

Nearly 45 miles away in West Bend, Greg Manteufel had to have all four limbs amputated after he contracted the bacteria from a dog lick.

Doctors suggest that people with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk for contracting capnocytophaga, but Manteufel’s case, who had a history of good health, is prompting questions into how the infectious disease takes hold.

Larson’s son, Steven, now wants answers about the potentially fatal illness, which typically begins with flu-like symptoms.

“I had no knowledge,” he said. “What do you want people to know? To always be more cautious. People think nothing of getting a simple dog bite. But even something so simple… can go wrong,” he said to FOX4.

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