Aug 9, 2012 5:44 PM by Elaine Sheridan
Public health officials in Pueblo say a second rabbit tested positive for tularemia in Pueblo West. The rabbit was collected from Pueblo West, north of Highway 50 West, on the 400 Block of East Chadwick Drive.
"Tularemia is similar to plague. It is typically found in animals, especially rabbits, and hares," said Heather Maio, Director of the Environmental Health Division at the Pueblo City-County Health Department. "Tularemia can be passed to humans or animals through the bite of infected insects, most commonly ticks and deer flies, and by handling infected, sick, or dead animals," explained Maio.
The disease can also be passed to people or animals if they eat meat or drink water infected by the bacteria.
Tularemia is a potentially serious illness that occurs naturally in the United States. It is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis found in animals (especially rodents, rabbits, and prairie dogs).
People can get tularemia many different ways:
· being bitten by an infected tick, deerfly or other insect
· handling infected animal carcasses
· eating or drinking contaminated food or water
· breathing in the bacteria, F. tularensis
Tularemia is not spread from person to person. People who have tularemia do not need to be isolated. People who have been exposed should be treated as soon as possible. The disease can be fatal if it is not treated with the right antibiotics.
Symptoms of tularemia usually occur 3-5 days after exposure and may include:
· sudden fever
· muscle aches
· joint pain
· dry cough
· progressive weakness
People with tularemia may experience the following: swollen, tender lymph glands, catch pneumonia, develop chest pain, produce bloody sputum, have trouble breathing and even sometimes stop breathing.
Other symptoms of tularemia depend on how a person was