Public Health Officials in Pueblo confirmed a wild rabbit tested positive for tularemia in Pueblo West. The rabbit was collected in the Liberty Point neighborhood of Pueblo West on Mountainside Drive, and does not appear to have had contact with people.

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

“Residents near Liberty Point in Pueblo West, are advised that tularemia-causing bacteria may be present in some of the mammals – especially rabbits, rodents and hares,” said Public health director, Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods.

A die-off of rabbits in the area over the past few weeks has occurred, yet until an animal was tested, the cause of the die-off was unknown. No human cases have been reported.

Tularemia is a bacterial infection most commonly transmitted to humans that have handled infected animals. 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, and less commonly, by inhaling aerosolized particles carrying the bacteria (through mowing or blowing vegetation).

Typical signs of infection in humans are fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, chest pain, and coughing. If tularemia is caused by the bite of an infected insect or from bacteria entering a cut or scratch, it usually causes askin ulcer and swollen glands. Eating or drinking food or water containing the bacteria may produce a throat infection, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Tularemia can be effectively treated with antibiotics, therefore should you have any of these early signs, seek medical attention as soon as possible. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page