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Tularemia

Tularemia, also called deerfly fever or rabbit fever, is a disease that usually occurs in animals. But the disease can be passed to people through infected insects or animals or by exposure to contaminated water or dust.

Humans are most commonly infected through:

  • Being bitten by a tick, deerfly, or mosquito.
  • Skinning, dressing, or handling diseased animals.
  • Drinking water that is contaminated with urine or feces.
  • Inhaling contaminated dust.

This disease is found throughout the United States, but most cases are reported in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Symptoms usually start within 21 days (but average 1 to 10 days) after the tick bite or other exposure. Symptoms of tularemia include:

  • Chills and high fever up to 106°F (41.1°C), often starting suddenly.
  • Headache that is often severe.
  • An open craterlike sore (ulcer) at the site of the bite.
  • Swollen glands near the site of the bite.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Prescription medicine is used to treat tularemia.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedOctober 14, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 14, 2011
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