A Texas man loses both arms and part of a leg to a flea bite


July 22, 2023 | 2:36 am

A Texas man lost both of his arms and part of his leg after a single flea bite, his family said.

Michael Kohlhoff was taken to a San Antonio emergency room last month after losing feeling in his toes and suffering from what his family initially believed were severe flu symptoms, his mother wrote. GoFundMe.

Soon after, the 35-year-old man went into septic shock and was rushed to the ICU.

Within 24 hours, Kohlhof was on a ventilator, dialysis, antibiotics, vasopressors and numerous IV drugs to keep him alive as his organs began to rapidly fail.

“By the end of June 20th, I have been told to call and talk to immediate family from all over the country,” wrote mom J’Leene Hardway.

Kohlhoff’s brother is Greg KENS5 said His sibling “almost died once or twice.

Michael was pictured without both of his arms, a necessary amputation to prevent further complications from typhus.
Gofundme/JLeene Hardaway
Michael is said to be doing surprisingly well following multiple amputations.

“They were worried he was brain dead,” Gregg said.

It required 11 more days of intensive medical care, but Kohlhof miraculously pulled through and was taken off the ventilator and censors on July 1 — but not without serious physical consequences.

According to Hardaway, Kohlhoff’s arms and legs developed dry gangrene as a result of vasopressor treatment — one of several drugs that saved his life.

The cause of Kohloff’s sepsis and rapid decline was indicated by typhus, a single bite from a flea.

Michael’s health problems stemmed from a rare type of typhus that left him in septic shock.

“He suffered a severe and traumatic bite from a flea,” Hardaway said.

Doctors told the family that the type of typhus Kohlhof contracted was extremely rare in the United States.

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According to Centers for Disease Control and PreventionFlea-borne typhus occurs in tropical and subtropical climates around the world, including the United States in southern California, Hawaii, and Texas.

Michael’s family has become his support group as he navigates the complexities of multiple amputations.

“There was no treatment [typhus] “Severe illness and damage to one or more organs, including the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain,” the CDC warns.

Typically, people bitten by infected fleas seek medical attention after noticing swelling or a rash at the bite site, but Greg said his brother didn’t experience any symptoms until it was too late.

Kohlhoff’s hernia was beyond treatment, and earlier this week doctors were forced to amputate both of his arms, down to his forearms and half of his legs.

If he had waited another 48 hours, “he wouldn’t have done it,” said his partner Alishba Masood. told KHOU11.

According to his brother, Kohlhof was from Houston and was only in San Antonio to take care of his mother while recovering from foot surgery.

Kohlhof is a volunteer, crafter, art lover and part-time pet sitter.

“He and I talked about it. It’s not your hands that do such great things. It’s your mind,” Greg told his brother.

“You have to find a new way to practice it.”


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