Greg Manteufel has to spend the rest of his life without legs or most of his arms. His limbs had to be amputated after he contracted an incredibly rare and painful blood infection called Capnocytophaga canimorsus.
Doctors in Wisconsin say he more than likely contracted it from his dog’s saliva. Manteufel hopes to eventually be outfitted with prosthetic limbs, but he has a long way to go before that can happen.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Greg Manteufel Went to the Emergency Room Thinking He Had a Bad Case of the Flu
Greg Manteufel thought he just a severe case of the flu. His wife Dawn told Fox 6 Now in Milwaukee that her husband had bruising all over his body, but they couldn’t figure out what had caused it. “It hit him with a vengeance…Looked like somebody beat him up with a baseball bat.”
48-year-old Manteufel began to go into septic shock as the mysterious symptoms continued to worsen. Doctors quickly realized this was no flu case. They diagnosed him with a rare blood infection called Capnocytophaga canimorsus. The bacteria dramatically slows down the body’s blood circulation and decreases blood pressure.
This happened so severely in Manteufel’s case that doctors saw no other option but to start removing his limbs. It was either that, or the bacteria would spread and eventually kill him.
2. Doctors Tried to Save Parts of Greg Manteufel’s Limbs, But Eventually Needed to Get More Aggressive with the Amputations
Greg Manteufel’s family says doctors began the tough job of saving his life by first amputating his feet. A second surgery was done in an attempt to remove some of the damage to his legs, but that ultimately was not enough. Doctors had to amputate both legs through the knee caps.
Additional surgeries were done to remove his hands. When that wasn’t enough either, doctors had to remove half of both forearms as well.
Manteufel’s condition has stabilized, but he has more surgeries ahead of him. According to a GoFundMe page set up by the family, Manteufel’s tissue was severely impacted by the bacteria and sepsis. Among the operations he will need is plastic surgery to rebuild a healthy nose.
3. A GoFundMe Page Was Started to Help Raise Money for Prosthetic Limbs
Greg Manteufel’s wife Dawn has described her husband as a very active person who enjoyed riding his motorcycle. He never had any serious medical problems before. Manteufel also spent his entire life around dogs, which makes the blood infection all the more surprising.
Manteufel has a long road to recovery, but part of that process will hopefully include prosthetic limbs. The family set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for future surgeries, therapy and hand and leg prosthetics.
On the page, Manteufel’s family commended him for his courage throughout the scary ordeal. His wife Dawn says he told the doctors to do whatever they needed to keep him alive. “During this process while his family and friends are in panic and chaos Greg has held his head high and is taking all the news like a beast. He is so thankful to be alive today and is taking one day at a time.”
4. The Rare and Deadly Bacteria That Sickened Manteufel is Spread Through the Saliva of Dogs and Cats
Greg Manteufel likely contracted the blood infection by being licked, scratched or nipped by his own dog. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the bacteria Capnocytophaga live in the mouths of dogs and cats. The animals are immune to the bacteria. Up to 74 percent of dogs and 57 percent of cats are carrying the bacteria in their mouths.
The bacteria more often impacts people with a weakened immune system. People over age 40 are more at-risk. The Centers for Disease Control list specific factors that increase people’s risk of getting sick from the bacteria.
• Excessive alcohol use
• Not having a spleen
• Immuno-compromising conditions, including but not limited to:
• HIV infection
• Taking drugs that are toxic to cells (such as chemotherapy)
Manteufel contracted Capnocytophaga canimorsus, but there are other species of the bacteria that cause lesser side effects compared to what he had to go through. The Centers for Disease Control says that the type of Capnocytophaga bacteria found in human mouths tend to cause illnesses such as gum disease, respiratory tract infections and eye infections.
5. Three in Ten People Infected With Capnocytophaga Are Killed By the Bacteria
The Centers for Disease Control warns that this bacteria can infect a person even if they haven’t been bitten. Contact with a dog’s saliva, which is likely what happened to Greg Manteufel, is enough to cause an infection. Officials say three in ten people who get infected die from it.
Symptoms typically occur within 3 to 5 days. Anyone bitten by a dog is urged to seek medical attention immediately even if they feel fine. Capnocytophaga can cause the following symptoms:
• Blisters around the bite wound within hours of the bite
• Redness, swelling, draining pus, or pain at the bite wound
• Diarrhea and/or stomach pain
• Headache and/or confusion
• Muscle or joint pain