A Perth woman who contracted an “extremely rare bacterial infection” from a dog bite that placed her into an induced coma has tragically died.
Tracy Ridout, a 53-year-old mother-of-two from Baldivis, was diagnosed with Capnocytophaga canimorsus after a friend’s young German Shepard “accidentally bit her finger instead of a toy”.
According to her daughter Sophie Ridout, there did not appear to be any cause for concern at first.
“It was not vicious or anything, she was playing with the dog and accidentally bit her finger instead of the toy,” she told PerthNow.
“She didn’t think anything of it just bandaged it up.”
Tracy started to feel pain a week later and when Nurofen and Panadol did not work she drove herself to Rockingham General Hospital where she was diagnosed with Capnocytophaga canimorsus, on August 18.
“(It is) an extremely rare bacterial infection passed on from an animal via a bite or lick,” Sophie wrote on a GoFundMe page initially set up to cover medical and funeral costs.
Doctors informed her the infection had spread to her kidneys, liver and blood and Tracy was transferred to Fiona Stanley where her condition rapidly deteriorated and she was placed into an induced coma.
One week later on August 25, doctors told Tracy’s family that there was nothing more they could do to save her.
“All of her organs pretty much shut down,” Sophie said.
Sophie and her brother Kieren have spoken out to warn others about seeking urgent medical attention for a dog bite.
“Even if it’s just like a little bite from the dog, which was the case (for Mum), just get it checked out,” she said.
According to Sophie, doctors told her that if her mum had received medical assistance earlier, the infection may not have progressed.
“This disease is apparently extremely rare, especially for it to get as bad as it did. One of the specialists said to us, it was the second time he’s ever seen it,” she added.
The bacteria is commonly found in the mouths of cats and dogs, however, it rarely causes illness in humans. Symptoms include blisters near the wound, redness, swelling, pain or fever.
People who have compromised immune systems and diabetes have a higher risk of infection.