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Researchers find genetic link in rare reaction to pet germ

In this Aug. 2, 2018 file photo provided by Dawn Manteufel, Greg Manteufel lays in his hospital bed at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. He lost parts ...
In this Aug. 19, 2019 photo, Greg Manteufel tries out a new prosthetic arm during occupational therapy at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin...
In this Aug. 16, 2019 photo, Greg Manteufel takes his dog Ellie from his wife Dawn Manteufel at their home in West Bend, Wis. He lost parts of his arm...
In this Aug. 19, 2019 photo, Greg Manteufel tries out a new prosthetic arm during occupational therapy at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin...
In this Aug. 16, 2019 photo, Greg Manteufel pets his dog Ellie at his home in West Bend, Wis. Manteufel lost parts of his arms and legs, as well as th...

In this Aug. 2, 2018 file photo provided by Dawn Manteufel, Greg Manteufel lays in his hospital bed at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. He lost parts ...

In this Aug. 19, 2019 photo, Greg Manteufel tries out a new prosthetic arm during occupational therapy at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin...

In this Aug. 16, 2019 photo, Greg Manteufel takes his dog Ellie from his wife Dawn Manteufel at their home in West Bend, Wis. He lost parts of his arm...

In this Aug. 19, 2019 photo, Greg Manteufel tries out a new prosthetic arm during occupational therapy at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin...

In this Aug. 16, 2019 photo, Greg Manteufel pets his dog Ellie at his home in West Bend, Wis. Manteufel lost parts of his arms and legs, as well as th...

WEST BEND, Wis. (AP) — Greg Manteufel lost parts of his arms and legs due to a germ that rarely affects people.

Capnocytophaga (cap-noh-seye-TOE'-fah-gah) is found in the saliva of cats and dogs and almost never leads to people getting sick, unless the person has a compromised immune system. But Manteufel was perfectly healthy.

Doctors at his hospital, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, had no explanation of why this happened.

But over the last 10 years there have been at least five other healthy people who have had severe reactions to the germ. A team of researchers connected with Harvard Medical School has developed a theory on why — a gene change in all the victims.

And their finding means doctors can't rule out the bacteria could strike Manteufel and other victims again.