A Texas man lost his hands and toes after contracting a severe case of typhoid from a flea bite.
Michael Kohlhof of Houston was taken to the hospital in June after developing flu-like symptoms.
But shortly after arrival he went into septic shock and was transferred to an intensive care unit.
A Texas man lost his hands and parts of his feet after contracting an extreme case of typhoid from a flea bite.
Michael Kohlhof, 35, was taken to a San Antonio hospital on June 19 after developing flu-like symptoms, including an upset stomach and fever, NBC News reported.
But hours later, Kohlhof’s condition rapidly deteriorated and he was rushed into intensive care while medical staff tried to figure out what was wrong with him.
The next day, the handyman was on a ventilator, dialysis and a cocktail of drugs, including antibiotics, beta blockers and vasopressors to keep him alive as his organs failed, a GoFundMe page set up by his family said.
“He almost died once or twice,” his brother Greg Kohlhof said KENS 5 News.
“They were worried he was brain dead,” he added.
Kohlhof came out of sedation on July 1, with doctors explaining that the cause of his condition was typhus, a infection spread by lice, fleas or mites.
“He was the victim of a severe and traumatic bite from a single flea – with unimaginable consequences,” the GoFundMe page reads.
Kohlhof’s family wrote that the vasopressors that had helped keep him alive had “complicated the vision of his extremities” and that he had developed dry gangrene.
Dry gangrene occurs when the blood supply to tissue is interrupted and the area becomes dry, shrinks and turns black, according to Johns Hopkins medicine.
On July 10, surgeons amputated both of Kohlhof’s hands “up to his forearms.” He also lost his toes and parts of his feet. The family said they are still unsure how much of his feet can be saved.
That Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that typhus is found in tropical and subtropical climates and in the United States can occur in places like southern California, Hawaii and Texas.
The CDC added that if left untreated, typhoid infection can lead to serious illness and damage to organs including the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and brain.
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