Lick of death: Capnocytophaga canimorsus is an important cause of sepsis in the elderly
- 1Department of Medicine for the Elderly, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, London, UK
- 2Hospital for Tropical Diseases, London, London, UK
- Correspondence to Dr James P Wilson,
- Accepted 11 May 2016
- Published 30 June 2016
A 70-year-old Caucasian woman was treated for Capnocytophaga canimorsus septicaemia. The source of bacteraemia was very likely to be her household pet, an Italian greyhound. The patient presented with a presumed complex partial seizure but deteriorated rapidly with sepsis and multiorgan dysfunction. Neither scratch nor bite was established, although close petting including licks was reported. Blood cultures grew Gram-negative rods, identified by molecular techniques as C. canimorsus—a bacterium frequently isolated in the oral cavities of dogs and cats. A full recovery was made following 2 weeks of intensive care support and broad-spectrum antibiotics. No underlying immune dysfunction was found.