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Tularemia has been confirmed in a second Mesa County woman this year. She was likely exposed to the infection through a bite from a deer fly or tick while spending time on the Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River.

Two travelers from out-of-state, one adult and one child, were also diagnosed with tularemia after spending time along the Colorado River around the same time period Mesa County residents were infected.

Mesa County Health Department and the BLM are urging residents to take precautions to reduce chances of being infected with tularemia.

Take
these precautions to avoid being exposed to tularemia:
  • Do not handle or
    feed wild animals.
  • Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Wear long pants,
    long sleeves, and long socks to keep tick and deer flies off your skin.
  • Avoid grassy and brushy areas when
    recreating outdoors when hiking, picnicking, or during any activity that
    can disturb soil, causing tularemia bacteria to become airborne.
  • 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.
  • Do not handle or
    drink untreated water.
  • 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.
The BLM and Mesa County Health
Department have posted signs warning of tularemia activity in areas of public
lands where the infection has been reportedly contracted.

Tularemia is treatable. Contact your
health care provider if you notice symptoms including sudden fever, chills,
headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, swollen glands, dry cough,
progressive weakness, an infected ulcer-like bite and difficulty breathing.