is an illness caused by a bacteria, Francisella tularensis,
which can affect both animals and humans. Most cases occur
during the summer months when deerflies and ticks are abundant
and the early winter months during rabbit hunting season.
During hunting season, illness usually results from skinning
can get tularemia if they spend time outdoors in areas where
infected animals, deerflies or ticks, can be found. Rabbit
hunters, trappers, and laboratory workers exposed to the
bacteria are at higher risk.
is tularemia spread?
most common way tularemia is spread is by the bite of an
infected blood sucking insect such as a deerfly or tick.
Another way people get tularemia is by getting blood or
tissue from infected animals (especially rabbits) in their
eyes, mouth, or in cuts or scratches on the skin. Tularemia
can also be spread by handling or eating rabbit meat that
is not cooked well. Drinking contaminated water or breathing
dust containing the bacteria can also spread tularemia.
Person to person spread does not occur.
are the symptoms of tularemia?
usual symptoms of tularemia are fever, chills, headache,
muscle aches, chest pain, and coughing. If tularemia is
caused by the bite of an infected insect or from bacteria
entering a cut or scratch, it usually causes a skin ulcer
and swollen glands. Eating or drinking food or water containing
the bacteria may produce a throat infection, stomach pain,
diarrhea, and vomiting. Breathing dust containing the bacteria
may cause a pneumonia-like illness.
soon do symptoms appear?
may appear between two and ten days, most often within three
to five days.
is the treatment for tularemia?
such as streptomycin and gentamicin are used to treat tularemia.
can be done to prevent the spread of tularemia?
at risk should reduce chances for insect bites by wearing
protective clothing, and by searching for ticks often
and removing attached ticks immediately. Tick/insect
repellents containing "DEET" provide additional
protection. Permethrin is also helpful when sprayed
should be discouraged from handling sick or dead rabbits,
or other possibly infected animals.
should be worn when skinning or handling animals, especially
rabbit meat should be thoroughly cooked.
masks, gowns, and rubber gloves should be worn by those
working with cultures or infective material in a laboratory.
can I get more information?
local health department, listed in the telephone directory
Utah Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology (801)
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
BUREAU OF EPIDEMIOLOGY