Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: bites

Bad headlines

Posted in Dogs, Other animals, Rabies
I realize headline writers are trying to attract attention, and sometimes they don’t know much about the content. As a result, some headlines are quite over the top, and that can freak people out. Here are some examples from the past couple of days: 4 year old girl catches life-threatening infection by trying on shoes… Continue Reading

More Capnocytophaga Q and A

Posted in Dogs
Capnocytophaga questions keep coming in. I guess that’s good in some ways, because I usually get a lot of blank stares when I mention that bacterium. A recent article about the risks of Capnocytophaga and exposure to dog saliva includes some good information about the topic, but the statements below highlight some issues: It’s important to… Continue Reading

Capnocytophaga in the news… again

Posted in Dogs, Uncategorized
Every couple of months there’s a news report about a person with infection caused by the dog-associated bacterium Capnocytophaga canimorsus. Most of these reports don’t get too much attention, but every once in a while they get picked up pretty widely, resulting in another round of questions about this strange bacterium. It’s a bit of… Continue Reading

Please avoid DIY head removal for rabies testing

Posted in Dogs, Rabies
A dog attacks someone and is shot by police. Unfortunate, but sadly it happens. The sheriff’s investigator notifies the county health department, which says the dog needs to be tested for rabies. Good. That sometimes gets missed. The investigator then tells the owner that he has to remove the dog’s head or he’ll face a charge… Continue Reading

Dog bites, irony and injured kids

Posted in Dogs
If it wasn’t for the injured child, this would be a funny story. There was a hearing in Hillsborough County, Florida about a proposed ordinance requiring dog trainers to be licensed. Not surprisingly, that didn’t go over well with all trainers. One of the main opponents was waiting in line to get into the hearing,… Continue Reading

Airport dog bite

Posted in Dogs, Rabies
While waiting in line to check-in for a flight in Orlando, a JetBlue passenger was bitten by a dog. This raises lots of issues and questions, and for the bitten individual, she’s dealing with a pretty nasty bite and also the potential need for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. She was bitten while checking in, so it… Continue Reading

Piranha bite response

Posted in Other animals, Other diseases
Yes, piranha bite response is a pretty niche topic. Nevertheless, it’s interesting (at least to me). A recent paper in Pediatric Emergency Care (Berkowitz and Goldsmith. An unexpected fish bite. 2017) covers this topic. It starts off this way: A 22-month-old boy presented to the pediatric emergency department with a missing right fourth distal phalanx… Continue Reading

Dangerous dog designations

Posted in Dogs
Dangerous dogs need to be addressed. Actually, it’s dangerous dog-owner pairs that are the issue, since there’s almost always a major human component to this kind of behaviour.  Unfortunately, we can’t mandate common sense. Cities have taken a variety of approaches to the issue of dog bites and dangerous dogs, ranging from nothing to breed… Continue Reading

Fatal viral infection from a cat?

Posted in Cats
One thing that’s a given with infectious diseases is that there’s always something new to learn. Interestingly, I had a couple enquiries about an obscure virus last week, and was subsequently sent a link to a news report about the same disease: severe fever with thrombocytopenia virus. As the mouthful of a name suggests, the virus… Continue Reading

A bird, some fish and a near amputation: Bizarre headline but an important story

Posted in Birds
Why is it that zoonotic disease case reports in the scientific literature sometimes get titles that are…well, let’s just say “creative.” A recent example of a strange headline for an interesting case report is “The Brief Case: A Fishy Tale Prevents Digital Doom following Polly’s Peck—the Importance of Pets in a Comprehensive Medical History” published in… Continue Reading

Dog bite near-death: A cascade of missed opportunities

Posted in Dogs
A few sentences into a Washington Post article entitled “A dog bite sent him to the ER. A cascade of missteps nearly killed him”, I was thinking, “This sounds like a pretty typical Capnocytophaga canimorsus infection. I wonder if this guy lost his spleen earlier in life.” It turns out that was true. Unfortunately, neither… Continue Reading

“Kittens Can Cause Death” and Other Overblown Headlines

Posted in Cats
I’ve held off writing about this, but needed to get to it sooner or later. A recent article in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases  (Nelson et al 2016) has spurred a serious of over-exaggerated and sometimes downright comical headlines. “Kittens can cause death; US study” is an Australian example of over-the-top reporting, probably by people who… Continue Reading

Dog Bite Prevention Education

Posted in Dogs
I spend a lot of time talking about “emerging” infectious diseases. Some of these are truly emerging (i.e. new) diseases, some are conditions we couldn’t diagnose well before but now recognize more easily, and some are disease that have been there all along and are just getting more attention. However, while emerging infectious disease (especially zoonotic… Continue Reading

Capnocytophaga Back in the News

Posted in Dogs
Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a bit of an obscure bacterium. When I talk about it to veterinary or physician audiences, I’m usually met with blank stares – not surprising, since it’s not really mentioned in veterinary or medical school, from what I can tell. It’s a rare cause of infection, but a nasty one. The fact that it’s… Continue Reading

More Pasteurella in the news

Posted in Cats, Dogs
The Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology has been good, recently, for a zoonotic disease article or two. The latest edition has a report of Pasteurella multocida infections of prosthetic joints (Lam et al. 2015). Pasteurella multocida is a bacterium that’s commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats, and can cause… Continue Reading

Miscellaneous dog bite studies

Posted in Dogs
Dog bites continue to be a major cause of injury, especially in kids. Here are a few recent papers with some interesting information on this topic. A review of hospitalizations from dog bites in Ireland (O Suilleabhain et al. The Veterinary Journal 2015) had a few noteworthy findings: There were 3164 hospitalizations during the study… Continue Reading

Out of bounds, out of luck

Posted in Dogs
From CTVnews.ca "A Brazilian [soccer] player was taken to a hospital for an anti-rabies shot after being bitten by a police dog during a match. The incident happened in the second half of a first-division game between Democrata and Tupi on Sunday in the Minas Gerais state regional championship. Democrata striker Joao Paulo was bit… Continue Reading

Groundhog zoonoses?

Posted in Other animals
According to Groundhog Day lore, if the groundhog sees its shadow, you’re in for six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t spring is around the corner. So, what does it mean when the critter draws blood? Sun Prairie, Wisconsin residents will find out this year, after Jimmy the Groundhog bit the town’s mayor. After… Continue Reading

Skunk + late vaccine + inflexibility = dead dog

Posted in Dogs
A Brockton, MA dog was euthanized after being bitten by a rabid skunk, because of a combination of the skunk’s rabies diagnosis, a relatively minor lapse in the dog’s vaccinations, and regulatory inflexibility. The ten-year-old Schnauzer cross was bitten in its own yard, and the skunk was subsequently caught, tested and diagnosed as rabid. Clearly,… Continue Reading

Another Capnocytophaga infection in a healthy person

Posted in Dogs
OK…time to get back to work writing. A couple weeks of conference organizing and uncountable Ebola calls are hopefully winding down, so back to the neglected blog. This bug is an obscure one that I write about regularly: Capnocytophaga canimorus. It’s found in the mouth of most dogs, so people are commonly exposed to it.… Continue Reading

Casual cat causality

Posted in Cats
The credit (or blame) for the alliteration goes to colleague and frequent blog material supplier Dr. Stephen Page. It relates to an article in the prestigious medical journal Lancet (Kagihara et al. 2014) entitled “A fatal pasteurella empyema.” The article describes the case of a 60-year-old man from Honolulu who was admitted to hospital in… Continue Reading