By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Swedish health authorities, Folkhalsomyndigheten, are reporting that in the past two weeks, the number of people who have fallen ill with tularemia, or harpest, has decreased significantly and during the last week no more reports were received than during an average year.

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

This is welcome news after a high year for tularemia cases in the country.

Through Sep. 30, Sweden reported 960 cases since the outbreak began in late July, the worst outbreak since the 1960s.

According to Folkhalsomyndigheten, Tularemia is caused by a bacterium, Francisella tularensis . The reservoir among animals in Sweden has been considered to be small rodents.

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Human beings can be infected in several ways, for example by:

  • bitten by an infected mosquito or other insect
  • direct contact with an infected animal
  • inhalation of dust, contaminated with sick animals’ urine or faeces
  • intake of contaminated water.

The incubation time is short, two to ten days, on average three days.

With tularemia, the patient becomes acutely ill with a high fever, headache and nausea. If you have been infected through direct contact with a sick animal (often hare) or through insect bites, a wound usually occurs locally, and the adjacent lymph nodes are enlarged and become tender. People who have been infected via the respiratory tract risk getting pneumonia. When ingesting contaminated water, you also get sick with mouth and throat ulcers.