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1. Tularemia is a rare infectious disease that typically attacks the skin,
eyes, lymph nodes and lungs. Tularemia — also called rabbit fever or
deer fly fever —
2. is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis
3. The disease mainly affects mammals, especially rodents, rabbits and hares, although it can also infect birds, sheep, and domestic animals, such as dogs, cats and hamsters.
Tularemia spreads to humans through several routes, including insect bites and direct exposure to an infected animal. Highly contagious and potentially fatal, tularemia usually can be treated effectively with specific antibiotics if diagnosed early.
4. Most people exposed to tularemia who become sick generally do so within three to five days, although it can take as long as 14 days. Several types of tularemia exist, and which type you get depends on how and where the bacteria enter the body. Each type of tularemia has its own set of symptoms.
5. Tularemia can be effectively treated with antibiotics such as streptomycin or gentamicin, which are given by injection directly into a muscle or vein. Depending on the type of tularemia being treated, doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics such as doxycycline (Oracea, Vibramycin, others) instead.
You'll also receive therapy for any complications such as meningitis or pneumonia. In general, you should be immune to tularemia after recovering from the disease, but some people may experience a recurrence or reinfection.
6. There's currently no publicly available vaccine for tularemia.
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