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Jefferson County, Colorado – A rabbit specimen collected from a private home in the vicinity of the town of Bow Mar in Jefferson County, Colorado has tested positive for tularemia. 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.
JCPH advises citizens to follow basic safety precautions to avoid exposure to animal-borne diseases, including:
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.Resources: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionJCPH Animal Borne Disease Program
July 29, 2014
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