Tularemia

Rabbit in a field

Tularemia takes many forms—Learn the symptoms

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 by 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.