A second rabbit has tested positive for tularemia in Mesa County.

Image/Gorman Lewis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Image/Gorman Lewis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tularemia is a bacterial disease that can affect humans and animals. Rabbits, hares and rodents are especially susceptible. Humans become infected through contact with infected animals, tick or deer fly bites, drinking contaminated water or inhaling contaminated dust.

Dogs and cats are also at risk of contracting tularemia. Pets with fever, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes or a tender abdomen should be seen by a veterinarian.

This is the second Mesa County rabbit that has tested positive for tularemia this summer. Both were found on the east end of the Redlands.

Symptoms of tularemia vary based on the mode of infection. Fever is almost always present. Other symptoms can include skin ulcers, swollen lymph glands, eye inflammation, sore throat, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, cough, chest pain and difficulty breathing.

Though the infection can be life-threatening, it is often treatable with antibiotics. There has been at least two human tularemia cases reported in Colorado this year. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page