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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A woman’s death in Wisconsin is being linked to an infection possibly caused by dog saliva. This is now the third person infected after being licked by a dog. The other two, a young boy whose infection three years ago has now been linked to dog saliva, and the other is still hospitalized.
The 48-year-old Wisconsin father lost his legs and hands from getting licked by a dog and is bracing for more operations.
He acquired the infection at a picnic, attended by several dogs.
“We counted about eight dogs he probably came across,” said Dawn Manteufel, the victim’s wife. “He doesn’t want anybody to think he doesn’t love dogs anymore. He loves his dog. He wants to see his dog. It’s not the dog’s fault. It was just some crazy thing that happened.”
Doctors have now determined that Liam Young had the same infection that caused him to lose fingers and toes three years ago.
Now 5, doctors say he was infected with the bacteria Capnocytophaga, which came from being licked by a dog.
“It’s always good having an answer, whether we like it or not, it’s always good knowing,” said Liam’s father.
Liam’s dad was shocked to learn about the man in Wisconsin undergoing similar amputations after being infected from dog saliva.
“It brought up a lot of emotions,” said Liam’s father. “It was just all too real for us.”
The CDC says the bacteria from dogs is rarely spread to humans.
“More than 99 percent of the people that have dogs will never have this issue, it’s just chance,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price.
For Liam’s family, they’re relieved to finally know what caused the infection.
The CDC doesn’t track these infections so we don’t have specific numbers.
According to federal health officials, up to 74 percent of dogs and 57 percent of cats carry the bacteria, but it is rarely spread to humans.
People with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk of falling ill.