Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: bites

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

Monkey bites and rabies quarantine

Posted in Other animals
"A monkey was placed under a six-month quarantine on Tuesday after it reportedly bit a woman at a Beaumont restaurant on Sunday…" Oh, where to start… Why do people feel the need to have monkeys as pets? I realize that they’re fascinating critters, but is it in the best interests of the monkey and the… Continue Reading

Attack of the marauding pine weevil

Posted in Other animals
That’s a great title that I can’t take credit for. A colleague (and regular supplier of papers for blog posts) Dr. Stephen Page send me a paper from the Journal of Clinical Microbiology with a more convoluted title “The Capnocytophaga canimosus isolate that caused sepsis in an immunosufficient man was transmitted by the large pine… Continue Reading

Boo Boo gets pardoned, but so much for stress relief

Posted in Other animals
Let’s put this one in the "smart people doing stupid things" file. Some well-intentioned people at Washington University in St. Louis thought they’d help relieve stress during exam time by bringing in a petting zoo – that unfortunately included "Boo Boo" the biting bear. As you can likely guess, problems ensued. 18 students sustained skin-breaking… Continue Reading

Raccoons in the bed

Posted in Other animals
There’s been some controversy in the past regarding allowing pets to sleep in or on the bed. I don’t get too worked up about it, since I think it’s very low-risk in terms of disease transmission for most pets and households, but a variety if reasons for prohibiting this practice have been given. I haven’t… Continue Reading

Rat bite fever…who’s to blame?

Posted in Pocket pets
A couple months ago, I wrote about a family suing PetsMart over a case of rat bite fever in a child. Now, a San Diego family is suing PetCo after their ten-year-old son died of the same infection.  Rat bite fever is a bacterial infection caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis, and it is almost always associated… Continue Reading

Cat bite infections (and dumb headlines)

Posted in Cats
It’s a scary sounding headline: “Cat Bites Pose Risk Of Infection As 1 In 3 Patients Bitten Hospitalized; Teeth Inject Bacteria Into Joints, Tissue” and it cites a research article from the Mayo Clinic in the Journal of Hand Surgery (Babovic et al 2014). Cat bites are nasty. The mouth of any cat harbours thousands… Continue Reading