An individual from Boulder County has become the third case of human tularemia this year in Colorado, according to a local news report in the Daily Camera. According to the report, the Lafayette resident contracted the zoonotic bacterial disease after mowing his or her lawn. The individual got sick about two weeks ago and later succumbed. It is noted the patient had underlying medical conditions.
Tularemia, or rabbit fever can be transmitted to people who have handled infected animals, such as hunters. Infection can also arise from the bite of infected insects (most commonly ticks and deer flies); by exposure to contaminated food, water, or soil by eating, drinking, or direct contact with breaks in the skin; or by inhaling particles carrying the bacteria (through mowing or blowing vegetation).
Typical signs of infection in humans may include fever, chills, headache, swollen and painful lymph glands, and fatigue. If tularemia is caused by the bite of an infected insect or from bacteria entering a cut or scratch, it usually causes a skin ulcer or pustule and swollen glands. Eating or drinking food or water containing the bacteria may produce a throat infection, mouth ulcers, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Inhaling the bacteria may cause an infection of the lungs with chest pain and coughing.
Tularemia can be effectively treated with antibiotics, therefore should you have any of these early signs, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Untreated tularemia can lead to hospitalization and may even be fatal.