What's tularemia? A disease you or your pet could catch - Bring Me The News

What's tularemia? A disease you or your pet could catch

Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

Minnesota health officials have confirmed this year's first cases of tularemia in the state.

The disease was identified in a rabbit and two cats in Hennepin County, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a Facebook post on Thursday:

https://www.facebook.com/mnhealth/posts/1043590419020748

What is Tularemia?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health:

Tularemia is a disease caused by a bacteria that can affect a wide range of species.

It occurs naturally in the US and can be passed to humans and pets. In Minnesota, ticks and biting flies can also transmit the bacteria.

Reported cases of the disease are rare in Minnesota, with only a handful each year.

Because it is found in wildlife, veterinarians, hunters, trappers, landscapers, farmers, and people who spend time outdoors where ticks and biting flies are common are at higher risk for getting the disease.

Tularemia can be cured by antibiotics. Finding and treating it early can help prevent serious illness.

What are the symptoms?

Signs and symptoms may vary, the Health Department says, but generally start with fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes. Some people may also experience skin or mouth ulcers, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, cough, and weakness.

The illness may not appear until 3-5 days after exposure to the bacteria, but may be as short as 1 day or take as long as 14 days, officials say.

In Minnesota, tularemia is most often reported in cats

That's because outdoor cats like to hunt small animals that may carry the disease.

Feline symptoms may include high fever, swollen lymph nodes, mouth ulcers, depression, and loss of appetite, the department says.

Zero to three cats are diagnosed on an annual basis, according to Southwest Journal.

Dogs rarely show signs of illness.

The Department of Health's tips to prevent tularemia:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals.
  • Wearing gloves when handling wild animals.
  • Use bug spray to reduce your chances of getting bitten by a fly or tick.
  • Keep cats indoors and don't let your pets hunt small animals like rabbits, hares, squirrels, or other rodents.

https://twitter.com/mnhealth/status/732194455550369792

Next Up

Related

Careful what you deck your halls with

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is asking consumers to look out for Oriental bittersweet, an invasive weed that is often mistaken for a common garland vine and used in decorative wreaths. The weed is dangerous to local environments.

Disease-carrying ticks moving deeper into Northland

Experts tell the Duluth News-Tribune it used to be rare to catch a tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease north of Duluth, “but now it’s a fairly routine thing.” The Associated Press takes a look at a new map showing Lyme disease risk areas, and a video from Howcast can help you recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease, which, if caught early, often doesn't turn into a debilitating illness.