Tularemia is a rare bacterial infection. The effects of the infection will depend on where the exposure occurs. It can be deadly if it is not treated.
Tularemia is caused by specific bacteria. It is normally found in small animals such as mice and rabbits. The bacteria can pass to humans through:
Bites of infected animals, ticks, or deer flies.
Contact with an infected animal's tissues or contaminated water, food, or soil. It can enter the body through the lungs, eyes, mouth, nose, or skin.
The infection does not pass between people.
Factors that may increase the chances of tularemia:
Hunting, trapping, or butchering infected animals
Working with infected animals or their tissue
Working in a laboratory with the bacteria
Eating meat from an infected animal
Being bitten by an infected mosquito or tick
Symptoms usually occur 3-5 days after exposure. The symptoms will depend on where the bacteria entered the body, the type and amount of bacteria you were exposed to, and the health of your immune system.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. You will be also asked about possible sources of exposure. A physical exam will also be done.
Your body fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
Culture of body fluids
Images may be needed. This can be done with a
Antibiotics can treat most tularemia infections. The first few doses of antibiotics will be injected in a muscle or given through an IV. You may need to take antibiotics by mouth for a few days after the initial dose. Treatment can last for 10-14 days. Make sure to take all of your medication even if you feel better.
Tularemia infections are reported to public health officials. This will help them track any outbreaks.
Measures to prevent the disease include:
Do not handle sick or dead animals.
Wear gloves, mask, and goggles if skinning or butchering animals.
Completely cook game meats.
Take precautions if you live in an area with ticks or deer flies:
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