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Tularemia (Deerfly fever; Rabbit fever)

Tularemia is an infection in wild rodents that is caused by the organism Francisella tularensis, and transmitted to humans by contact with infected animal tissues and carcass via broken skin or from the bite of an infected flea or from ingesting infected meat (rare).

Alternative names are Deerfly fever and Rabbit fever.

Endemic areas (areas where the disorder occurs most commonly) include North America and parts of Europe and Asia. Three to five days there may be;

* red spot on the skin, enlarging to an ulcer
* enlarged lymph nodes of groin or armpits
* headache
* muscle pains
* possible conjunctivitis
* shortness of breath
* fever
* chills
* sweating
* weight loss
* joint stiffness

Later a resulting inflammation and hemorrhaging of the airways can lead to death. The illness could continue for several weeks after the onset of symptoms. Some people may develop an atypical pneumonia. Call your health care provider if symptoms develop after a rodent bite, tick bite, or exposure to the flesh of a wild animal.

Without antibiotics, one-third die. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the infection with antibiotic therapy. Streptomycin and tetracycline are commonly used in this infection.

NOTE: Oral tetracycline is usually not prescribed for children until after all the permanent teeth have erupted. It can permanently discolor teeth that are still forming. Prognosis is fatal in about 5% of untreated cases, and in less than 1% with treatment. The disease is very rare in the United States. A vaccine is recommended for people at high risk (trappers, hunters, and laboratory workers).

* meningitis
* pneumonia
* pericarditis
* osteomyelitis

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