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Avoid contact with wild animals to avoid getting sick 

A rabbit from the east side of the Redlands has tested positive for tularemia. Residents should be
aware tularemia could present in animals anywhere in Mesa County and should avoid contact with
wild animals. 

Tularemia is bacteria commonly found in rabbits, hares and rodents. In previous years, Mesa County
has had high tularemia activity. In 2015, Mesa County had one probable and three confirmed human
cases of tularemia, consistent with an increase noted statewide. 

Protect yourself and your family from tularemia: 

  • Avoid handling dead or sick animals. 
  • If a dead animal must be moved, avoid direct contact with it. 
    • Place the carcass in a garbage bag using a long-handled shovel. 
    • Double bag the carcass. 
    • Dispose of the carcass in a sealed outdoor garbage can, away from people and pets. 
  • Reduce rodent habitat around your home, workplace and recreational areas. 
    • Remove brush, rock piles, junk, cluttered firewood and other nesting areas from your
      property. 
    • Make sure pet food is sealed. 
    • Make sure your home and outbuildings are rodent-proof. 
  • Animals, including your pets, can carry tularemia. 
    • Do not allow your pets to consume animal carcasses. 
    • Leash your pets when outdoors and keep them from dead animals. 
    • Talk with your veterinarian about tick and flea prevention for your pets, as some
      diseases can be spread through tick and/or flea bites. 
  • Use insect repellant containing DEET to prevent tick and deer fly bites, which can also
    spread tularemia. 

Symptoms of tularemia include skin ulcers at the site of infection, swollen and painful lymph glands,
fever, chills, headache and exhaustion. Tularemia is treatable with antibiotics. Contact your health
care provider immediately if you have symptoms. 

For more information, call or text Kristy Emerson at (970) 260-7042 or visit health.mesacounty.us.