Tularemia Reported In Oklahoma
November 17, 2016
Editorial Staff (293 articles)
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Tularemia Reported In Oklahoma

Testing confirms tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever”

Authorities warn small-game hunters in Oklahoma about several cases of suspected or confirmed tularemia, including two cases involving jackrabbits at Altus Air Force Base and another case in the Blanchard area. The disease is sometimes called “rabbit fever.”

Oklahoma has periodic outbreaks, and hunters should use caution. Rabbits behaving in unusual ways or appearing lethargic might be infected.

Tularemia can be present anytime during the year. Hunters should use safe handling practices and wear rubber or latex gloves whenever handling any wild game. Cook all wild game meat thoroughly before eating.

Since September, Altus AFB pest management personnel have found about 60 carcasses of jackrabbits and cottontail rabbits.

This bacterial infection can pass from animals to people and pets. Transmission can occur through flea and tick bites, contact with an infected animal, inhalation (i.e., mowing over an infected carcass), and contaminated water. It’s generally treatable with antibiotics.

Anyone going afield should always use a tick repellant, as ticks can spread tularemia to people. Also, people should not drink raw water from lakes or streams because the bacteria can be present.

The disease occurs naturally in the environment, and it’s common in rabbits, hares, muskrats and beavers.
—courtesy Oklahoma Wildlife Department and Oklahoma Health Department

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