One flea bite was all it took for a man from Texas, United States, to develop a terrible illness that led to the amputation of both of his hands and portions of both of his feet.
According to a report by NBC News, 35-year-old Michael Kohlhof began to show flu-like symptoms after the flea bite, including a fever and an upset stomach, last month. A week after the symptoms set in, Michael’s condition worsened rapidly.
Once he couldn’t get out of bed in late June, his brother Greg said, Michael went to the emergency department at a hospital in San Antonio. He went into septic shock soon after and was transferred to the intensive care unit.
As doctors spent the next 24 hours trying to make a diagnosis, Kohlhof was placed on a ventilator, given a number of antibiotics, and started on dialysis.
In the weeks since, Michael’s toes, an inch of his feet, and his hands up to his forearms have been amputated because of dry gangrene, a consequence of sepsis that blocks blood flow to certain extremities, according to the news portal.
The fatal illness was caused by the bacterial infection Typhus, which is spread by infected fleas-one of which bit Mr Kohlhof.
According to the CDC, there are more than 2,500 flea species worldwide, with more than 300 species occurring in the United States. However, of the many different fleas in the world, only a select few can affect people’s health.
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