Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a type of bacteria commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats. While it is usually harmless to these animals, it can cause severe infections in humans who come into contact with infected saliva through bites, scratches, or close contact with an animal’s mouth.
In humans, C. canimorsus infections can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, the infection can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition where the body’s immune response to the infection causes widespread inflammation and damage to tissues and organs.
Certain populations of people may be more susceptible to C. canimorsus infections, including those with weakened immune systems, as well as those who have had their spleen removed or have liver disease. In these populations, the infection can be more severe and potentially life-threatening.
Treatment for C. canimorsus infections usually involves antibiotics, which are most effective when started early in the course of the infection. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to provide supportive care such as fluids, oxygen, and blood pressure support. Prevention of C. canimorsus infections involves avoiding close contact with animal saliva, especially from dogs and cats, and seeking prompt medical attention if bitten or scratched by an animal.
It is important to note that while C. canimorsus infections can be severe, they are relatively rare. Most people who come into contact with animal saliva do not develop an infection, and many cases of infection can be successfully treated with appropriate medical care.