We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Tularemia?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Tularemia is a disease caused by the Francisella tularensis bacterium. You may also hear this illness referred to as “rabbit fever,” in a reference to one of its primary carriers in the wild. Infection with tularemia can be fatal if it is ignored, but the condition is usually very easy to treat with antibiotics. It is also quite rare; around 200 cases a year are recorded in North America, for example, typically among people who are at higher risk of contracting the disease to begin with.

Tularemia is named for Tulare County in California, where an outbreak of the disease among wild rabbits in 1911 first brought it to human attention. It is characterized by a fever, swelling lymph nodes, and a rash, with skin ulcers being quite common, especially around the site of the bite which infected the patient, if he or she was infected by a bite. In some forms, tularemia can also infect the eyes, lungs, and digestive tract, causing general discomfort with its associated ulcers.

The bacterium which is responsible for tularemia is highly infectious, and tularemia is among one of the most infectious diseases on Earth. However, it is not readily passed between humans. Most people get it from insect bites, with insects like ticks and deerflies feeding on the blood of infected animals such as rabbits and rodents. It is also possible to get tularemia from eating the meat of an infected animal, through contaminated water or soil, or in airborne form. Gardeners are particularly susceptible to airborne tularemia because they frequently disturb the soil while working.

The diagnosis of tularemia is accomplished either by culturing a blood sample to see if the bacterium grows, or by testing blood to see if antibodies to tularemia are present. Doctors may also order x-rays, to assure themselves that the infection has not spread to the lung. Once a diagnosis is made, the patient will be given antibiotics to treat it, and as always when using antibiotics, it is important to finish the course to ensure that the infection is completely knocked out of your system.

Because tularemia is so infectious, several nations allegedly developed it as part of their biological weapons programs, working on strains which would be resistant to antibiotics. When used as a biological weapon, it is assumed that tularemia would be aerosolized, thus spreading to as many people as possible in a short period of time. Many stocks of weaponized tularemia have been destroyed and this destruction has been documented, but the potential uses for F. tularensis are a source of concern to some governments.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.