Tularaemia (Rabbit fever)

This is a disease caused by the bacteria Francisella tularenis which can cause an acute illness in many species of birds and mammals including humans (cats and dogs can also be affected).

The disease is often transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes. In the USA, most human cases occur as a result of tick bites or from contact with infected carcasses. It is not transmitted by human-to-human contact.

Symptoms in humans may vary depending on the mode of transmission, but may include diarrhoea, sore throat, abdominal pain and vomiting. Up to 5% of those infected may die.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

Tularaemia has been studied because of its potential as a germ warfare agent.

Further information

This article published on
11 December 2005

Next review date 12/1/2013


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