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Tularaemia

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tularaemia

(Science: infectious disease, microbiology) A rare infection of rabbits and rodents caused by the bacteria francisella tularensis.

francisella tularensis is found in many animals (rabbits, rodents) and may be transmitted by direct contact or via insect bite (ticks and deer-fly). Humans can also contract the illness via the direct contact with the infected animal carcass (break in the skin).

The illness is characterised by an ulcerative lesion at the site of the inoculation with regional lymph node swelling, pneumonia, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains and joint stiffness.

risk factors include an exposure to rabbits or recent tick bite. A vaccine is available for high risk workers. Treatment is with streptomycin or tetracycline. Tularaemia is fatal in 5% of untreated cases and in less than 1% of treated cases.

incidence: less than 200 cases per year (USA).

Origin: Gr. Haima = blood