Man had hands and parts of his feet amputated after catching deadly Victorian disease from flea bite
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A US man has had his hands and parts of his feet amputated after contracting a deadly Victorian disease from a flea bite.
After arriving in San Antonio to visit his mother on 19 June, Michael Kohlhof, 35, went into hospital with what he thought was the flu, but he ended up being admitted to ICU with septic shock, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his mother, J'Lenne Hardaway.
On 20 June, Michael was put on a ventilator as his organs began to fail, with the hospital telling J'Lenne to call the rest of the family from many different parts of the US to say their goodbyes.
It was then discovered that Michael had been bitten by a flea and developed the rare disease Typhus - a disease so deadly that it killed more French soldiers than the actual Russians did when Napoleon retreated from Moscow back in 1812.
Michael did manage to fight off the infection for around 11 days with various medications, but he had developed dry gangrene in his hands and feet during that time.
There was only one way that Michael's life could be saved and that was to have his hands chopped off up to his forearms, as well as his feet needing to be removed.
The GoFundme page said that it is not known how or when Michael was bitten, just that it came from a flea.
Obviously, living in the US means you have to pay for healthcare, so the GoFundMe page has largely been set up to cover the mammoth costs Michael's family are now facing.
And the fundraiser has amassed a whopping £53,000 so far with a target of £280,000.
Speaking about her son, J'Lenne wrote: "Michael is incredibly smart and comical; spreading happiness to everyone he encounters. With an insatiable curiosity about the world, he eagerly seeks knowledge and is always brimming with questions.
"Living in Houston, he has been a full-time volunteer and a part-time handyman & pet sitter. And does not have any health coverage.
"He is known in the world of art festivals, community gardens, music festivals, etc… Always the first to help set up and the last to tear down."
Typhus - the infection Michael was so greatly impacted with - is usually spread by lice, fleas or mites, according to the NHS.
It is very rare in the UK, and most people who are diagnosed recover if treated quickly.
Symptoms of the infection include a headache, very high temperature, dry cough, diarrhoea and being sick.