Tularemia is a disease that can infect animals and people. Rabbits, hares, and rodents are especially susceptible and often die in large numbers during outbreaks. People can become infected in several ways, including:
- Tick and deer fly bites
- Skin contact with infected animals
- Drinking contaminated water
- Inhaling contaminated aerosols or agricultural and landscaping dust
- Laboratory exposure
In addition, people could be exposed as a result of bioterrorism.
Symptoms vary depending how the person was infected. Tularemia can be life-threatening, but most infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
Steps to prevent tularemia include:
- Using insect repellent
- Wearing gloves when handling sick or dead animals
- Avoiding mowing over dead animals
In the United States, naturally occurring infections have been reported from all states except Hawaii.