Physicians urged to be aware of tularemia symptoms

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 14, 2005

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In the wake of an increasing number of human cases of tularemia linked to epidemics of the disease in rabbits, public health officials are calling on physicians to be familiar with the symptoms and related local epidemiology, according to the Feb. 25 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Officials with the Wyoming Dept. of Health investigated an increase in human cases in that state from 2001 to 2003 and compared them to those occurring in the decade earlier. Ten cases were reported from 1990 to 2000, but 11 were reported from 2001 to 2003. Also, most of the more recent cases were linked to insect bites rather than exposure to ticks, rabbits or sheep, which caused most of the cases in the 1990s.

The CDC notes that symptoms vary, depending on the route of exposure, but can include skin ulcers, swollen and painful lymph glands, inflamed eyes, sore throat, mouth sores, diarrhea, pneumonia, fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough and progressive weakness.

The authors of this paper are linking the human outbreak to a rabbit outbreak noted simultaneously at Wyoming's Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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