The health authority of Mainz-Bingen district in eastern Germany (computer translated) is currently investigating several human cases of tularemia, or hare plague/rabbit fever.
The six affected had participated in early October on a vintage in the northern district. A few days later they got high fever and complained of a severe general feeling of illness. Three people had to be treated in the hospital. All have now been released as well again.
The cases are considered unusual as infections with the pathogen, Francisella tularensis, are very rare in Germany. Man is infected by direct contact with diseased animals, their organs or excretions. The pathogen can also be transmitted by contaminated food.
The health authority is supported by the Landesunspektionssamt (LUA) in the search for causes. It is investigated how the villagers could have come into contact with the pathogen. In parallel, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) examines samples from the vineyard. The focus is on food, rabbits, rabbits and other environmental samples. It usually begins with an ulcer at the entrance of the pathogen, followed by flu-like symptoms such as fever, lymph node swelling, chills, malaise as well as headache and limb pain. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.
Doctors in the district of Mainz-Bingen are asked to consider tularemia in patients with high fever and lymph node swelling, especially if the cause of these symptoms is unclear. Suspected cases are also subject to reporting under the Infection Protection Act at the Health Authority.
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