A man in Germany has had two toes amputated and has gone through over 30 operations having spent four weeks in a coma after being bitten by a mosquito.
Sebastian Rotschke, 27, was admitted to an intensive care unit after he was bitten by an Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).
He got blood poisoning and was put in an artificial coma, in Roedermark, a town in the Offenbach district in the central German state of Hesse, according to local media.
Sebastian reportedly suffered from liver, kidney, heart and lung failure at various moments, with doctors finally putting him in an artificial coma. He even had to have a skin transplant to his thigh.
After being bitten over the summer of 2021, a huge abscess formed where the mosquito had struck and Sebastian ended up fighting for his life.
The 27-year-old said: “I haven’t been abroad. The bite must have happened here.”
His statement coincides with experts in Germany increasingly warning about the spread of the Asian tiger mosquito in the Rhein-Main region.
Sebastian first got sick in July 2021. He came down with flu-like symptoms and had a sore throat.
His doctor prescribed him antibiotics.
The young man said: “Then the pure escalation began. I became bedridden, barely made it to the bathroom, had a fever, couldn’t eat. I thought it was coming to an end.”
He went to the Aschaffenburg Clinic to seek more detailed medical attention. Sebastian said: “Suddenly I saw that my grey sweatpants were completely soaked. All of a sudden, a huge abscess had formed on my left thigh.”
He added that “four chief physicians examined my entire body.”
The abscess was operated on late in the evening. A tissue sample showed that a bacteria called Serratia marcescens had literally eaten away half of his thigh.
Sebastian said: “The doctors very quickly guessed that the Asian tiger mosquito bite was the cause of the whole thing and called in a specialist.”
He then suffered multiple organ failure and was placed in an artificial coma where he battled for his life for four long weeks.
Sebastian said: “The doctors didn’t give me a great chance of survival.”
He then had 30 operations and two of his toes were partially amputated.
Sebastian says he is “fine so far” but he is still on sick leave.
He gave others a stark warning: “Go to the doctor in good time – it’s better to have one too many than too few. Even a small sting can become fatal!”
Asian tiger mosquitoes are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia. The species has however been spreading to other parts of the world in recent years.
They have been linked with the transmission of many viral pathogens, including the yellow fever virus and dengue fever.
They are also considered to be potential vectors for transmission of the Zika virus among humans.