San Diego County health officials have reported several ticks trapped in routine monitoring along Lopez Canyon Trail in Sorrento Valley have tested positive for tularemia.
This is the first reported finding of tularemia in the county this year, prompting officials to urge the public to remember to protect themselves and their pets when hiking.
The best way to do that, County officials said, is to start by wearing insect repellent, proper clothing and by using insect control products on their pets that kill fleas and ticks.
Tularemia, or “rabbit fever,” can be spread through soil contaminated with the droppings or urine of sick animals such as rabbits.
Infection can also occur from the bite of infected insects (most commonly ticks and deer flies) as well as exposure to soil and vegetation. Hunters who skin animals without gloves and are exposed to infected blood through an open wound are also at risk.
Typical signs of infection in humans include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, chest pain, and coughing. Tularemia can be effectively treated with antibiotics; contact your medical provider if these early signs are present.
The last human tularemia case in San Diego County was in 2005.