Tularemia is a disease caused by a bacteria that is spread by many different animals and insects. Tularemia is found throughout the United States. In Arizona from 2005-2015, about 10 individuals had tularemia.
Tularemia is spread in multiple ways. Tularemia can be spread by touching, hunting, or skinning infected animals, such as rabbits, muskrats, prairie dogs, or other rodents. Certain insects, such as ticks or deer flies, can also spread tularemia by biting an individual. An individual can also become infected if they breathe in, eat, or drink the bacteria.
Tularemia cannot be spread from person-to-person.
Tularemia causes multiple types of illness, depending on how an individual got the disease.
There are many different ways a person can become sick. Symptoms will vary depending on how an individual was infected with tularemia.
|Possible infection method||Fever (<104oF)|
Swelling of lymph nodes
Cough, difficulty breathing
|Chest pain||Sore throat, mouth sores||Irritation of the eye||Bite wound|
|Touch, hunt, skin animals||X||X||Rarely||Rarely||X|
|Breathe in bacteria||X||X||X|
|Eat or drink bacteria||X||X|
|Bit by insect||X||X||X|
Individuals should see a healthcare provider if they develop the symptoms listed above and have had exposures described above. The provider may order blood tests to look for tularemia.
There are treatment options. Antibiotics are available to treat tularemia infections. An individual infected with tularemia should seek healthcare immediately.
Avoid contaminated foods and water. Make sure that all food you eat is from a safe source and has been properly cooked. Do not drink water that may be contaminated.
Protect yourself. Wear long-sleeved clothing and use insect repellants while hiking, camping, or working in areas where there may be ticks or other insects such as deer flies. Regularly perform tick checks on yourself when spending time in an area where there may be ticks. When mowing a lawn, don’t mow over sick or dead animals. When possible, check the area for carcasses prior to mowing. Gloves should be worn if hunting, trapping, or skinning animals, especially rabbits, muskrats, prairie dogs, and other rodents. Game meat should be cooked thoroughly before eating. Veterinary workers, hunters/trappers, laboratorians and other individuals who regularly participate in activities that put them at risk should be educated on the risks of tularemia and how to protect themselves.
Protect others. Help young children, disabled individuals and others by dressing them in appropriate clothing, properly applying insect repellants, and checking for ticks.