- Licensing:All rights reserved.Attribution:Mark Drew
Tularemia is a bacterial disease caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis.
Commonly Affected Species:
Signs Of Disease
In rabbits and hares clinical signs include lethargy and ill thrift. Tularemia causes lesions on the spleen and liver which are usually swollen and contain white spots. In humans, signs of Tularemia vary depending on the route of infection. Skin ulcers can be seen, usually on the hands, and typically associated with cuts or scratches acquired while skinning hares/rabbits. Glands can also become quite swollen.
Where is Disease Found?
Tularemia occurs in many parts of North America in both the terrestrial and aquatic forms. The disease has been documented in aquatic rodents and rabbits in Idaho but is not common.
How Can I Protect Myself?
People can become infected with tularemia. Wear latex or rubber gloves when handling live hares, rabbits, beavers, or muskrats or their carcasses. Contact with infected tissues or fluids into a cut, bite or abrasion on the skin may also allow disease transmission. The infection in people can be quite serious; seek medical attention if you suspect you have acquired tularemia. Dogs and cats can die from tularemia. Infected hares are easy for dogs and cats to catch. Pets are infected when they eat the internal organs of infected animals.
Samples to Collect
Whole carcasses of rabbits or hares, muskrat or beavers, or the spleen and liver can be collected. Samples should be placed in a plastic bag and kept cool, refrigerated or frozen until the samples can be delivered to a conservation officer or an Idaho Department of Fish and Game Regional Office.
Can I Eat The Meat?
Meat from animals that die of tularemia should not be consumed by humans. Normal cooking temperatures will kill bacteria in the meat.
What is IDFG doing to help manage this disease?:
Management of tularemia is not practical or feasible in wild animals.
How do I learn more about this disease?