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Tularemia has been confirmed in a Mesa
County resident – the first human case identified in Mesa County this year. The
resident was likely exposed to the disease, often referred to as Rabbit Fever,
in the Redlands area.
Mesa County Health Department reminds
residents that the bacteria that causes tularemia has been found in rabbits in
Mesa County and may affect squirrels, beavers, muskrats and other rodents, as
well as pets and some livestock. Rabbits from the east side of the Redlands and
southwest of Fruita have tested positive for tularemia this summer.
Take
these precautions to avoid being exposed to tularemia:
  • Do not handle or
    feed wild animals.
  • Use an
    Environmental Protection Agency approved repellent effective against ticks
    and mosquitoes.
  • Wear long pants,
    long sleeves and long socks to keep ticks and deer flies off of your skin.
  • Tularemia
    causing bacteria can become airborne when soil is disturbed. Wear a mask
    while mowing or weed-whacking to avoid breathing in dust if wildlife
    crosses your property often.
  • If you need to
    dispose of an animal carcass on your property, wear gloves and use a
    long-handled shovel to place it in a garbage bag, and then place the bag
    in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Protect your
    pets. Prevent them from hunting or eating wild animals. Contact a
    veterinarian if your pet becomes ill with a high fever and/or swollen
    lymph nodes. 

Tularemia is treatable. Contact your
health care provider if you notice symptoms including an infected ulcer-like
bite, swollen glands, fever, dry cough, body aches and headaches.