Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Tularemia is a bacterial disease associated with various animal species, especially rodents, rabbits, hares and beavers. People can get tularemia from many different sources: through the bite of an infected insect (usually a tick or deerfly), handling infected animal carcasses, consuming contaminated food or water, or by inhaling the bacteria. This disease can occur throughout the year; the peak times correspond with tick season (in spring and summer) and with the rabbit hunting season in early winter.

Tularemia is not spread from person to person.

Symptoms: Usually 3-5 days after exposure

  • Sudden high fever

  • Headaches

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Muscle and joint pain

  • A sore or lesion at the site of infection.

  • If the bacteria are ingested, a person may have a sore throat, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea.

If any of these symptoms are noted after handling dead animals or swallowing untreated drinking water (as you find in a creek), contact your physician.

Tularemia is treatable with appropriate antibiotics.


  • Do not handle sick or dead animals.

  • Instruct children to leave wildlife alone.

  • Wear rubber gloves when skinning or handling animals, especially rabbits.

  • Thoroughly cook meat from wild game.

  • Use protective clothing and insect repellents.

  • Conduct frequent "tick checks".

  • Avoid untreated drinking water.

  • Use DEET or other tick repellant during the Colorado tick season. Ticks emerge in the mountains of Colorado in late March and are present throughout the summer with the peak season occurring in late May through early June.

For more information on preventing tularemia and other animal-borne diseases, visit our website at

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