Second Mesa County rabbit tests positive for life-threatening disease

By: Nick Rothschild Email
By: Nick Rothschild Email

Ways to prevent tularemia

  • Wear insect repellent.
  • Do not touch - or use gloves when handling - dead animals or rodents.
  • Avoid running over dead animals with a lawn mower.
  • Stay out of areas where wild rabbits or rodents are present.
  • Wear shoes in areas where rabbits have died.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. For the second time this summer, a rabbit in Mesa County has tested positive for tularemia: a dangerous bacterial disease that could be life-threatening.

According to the Mesa County Health Department tularemia can affect both humans and animals, while rabbits, hares and rodents are especially susceptible.

Humans can become infected with tularemia by coming in contact with infected animals, being bitten by ticks or deer flies, drinking contaminated water, or inhaling contaminated dust.

Your pets are also at risk, because dogs and cats can also contract tularemia. Pets with fever, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes or a tender abdomen should be seen by a veterinarian.

Symptoms of tularemia can vary based on the mode of infection, but fever is almost always present.

Other symptoms include: skin ulcers, swollen lymph glands, eye inflammation, sore throat, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.

Tularemia can be life-threatening, however it is often treatable with antibiotics.

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