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    Suspected Tularemia at South Table Mountain Park 08-04-14

    Tularemia Suspected at South Table Mountain Park

    Citizen Tip Cites Dead Rabbits

    A Jefferson County Public Health report last week confirmed tularemia of a rabbit specimen collected from a private home in the vicinity of the town of Bow Mar in Jefferson County, Colorado.  With a report to Jeffco Open Space of dead rabbits at South Table Mountain Park, Jeffco Public Health has been called to investigate possible causes.

    Tularemia is a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. It is also called “rabbit fever” and rabbits, hares, beavers and rodents are especially susceptible. Humans can also be infected with the bacteria, which is treatable with appropriate antibiotics.

    Tularemia does not spread from person to person. Tularemia occurs year-round throughout the United States, except in Hawaii. In Colorado, there are generally two peak seasons: in May associated with tick bites and in October and November associated with rabbit hunting season. Colorado reports a few human cases of tularemia every year. “Tularemia is not uncommon in Colorado and the risk to the public is very low in this instance,” states JCPH Environmental Health Services Director, Jim Rada.

    Jeffco Open Space and Jeffco Public Health advise citizens to follow basic safety precautions to avoid exposure to animal-borne diseases, including:

    • Do not handle sick or dead animals, instruct children to leave wildlife alone
    • Keep pets on leash and do not allow them to disturb sick or dead animals
    • Wash hands thoroughly following recreation on trails
    • Use protective clothing and insect repellents to avoid deerfly and tick bites
    • Conduct frequent checks for ticks

    Symptoms usually appear 3-5 days after exposure and can include high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a sore or lesion at the site where the bacteria entered the body.  In addition, if the bacteria are ingested, such as swallowing contaminated water, a person may have a sore throat, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea.  Persons who develop symptoms should contact their physician or health care provider.

    For more information:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: (http://www.cdc.gov/Tularemia/)
    JCPH Animal Borne Disease Program: (http://jeffco.us/public-health/healty-environments/animal-borne-disease/)


    Thea Rock
    Communications Manager

    August 4, 2014

    Last Updated: 10-15-2014