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Facts About Tularemia
What tularemia is
Tularemia is a bacterial infection usually found in small mammals such as mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits and hares.
Occasionally, water may also be contaminated.
People are more likely to be exposed in rural settings, although urban and suburban exposures occasionally occur. How tularemia is spread
Humans become infected through environmental exposures and can develop severe, sometimes fatal illness.
Infection typically occurs from bites by infected insects and ticks.
Infection can also occur from the handling of infectious animal tissues or fluids.
Direct contact with or ingestion of contaminated water, food or soil.
Inhalation of infective aerosols.
Tularemia is NOT spread from person to person. The symptoms of tularemia are
Onset of tularemia is usually sudden, with fever, headache, chills, generalized body aches (often in lower back), runny nose, and sore throat.
Sweats, fever and chills, progressive weakness, loss of appetite, and weight loss characterize the continuing illness.
If untreated, symptoms often persist for several weeks or months usually with progressive debility. How tularemia is diagnosed
A physician’s complete and thorough physical examination and laboratory testing are necessary to confirm whether or not you have tularemia.
Once diagnosed, tularemia can be treated with appropriate antibiotics.
Treatment typically lasts at least 14 days to prevent relapse.
As tularemia is not transmitted person to person, there is not a need for isolation. Complications from tularemia
In untreated tularemia, symptoms often persist for several weeks and sometimes, for months, usually with progressive debility.
Blood infection and, rarely, meningitis may complicate any form of tularemia. How to prevent tularemia
Educate yourself on the proper handling of sick or dead animals, particularly when hunting, camping, or butchering; and avoid handling them if at all possible.
Take personal protective measures against biting insects while engaging in outdoor activities.
Currently, there is no vaccine available.
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