Tularemia is considered as a rare condition brought about by the bacteria Francisella tularensis that is typically acquired from the bite of diseased ticks or deer flies or after touching infected animals.
What are the indications?
The signs and symptoms typically manifest abruptly and include fatigue, fever, chills, generalized body aches, nausea and headache. The other symptoms depend on where the bacteria entered the body. It is important to note that the infection can trigger the following:
- Skin ulcer at the site of the bite or exposed skin along with swelling of the neighboring lymph glands.
- Sore throat, tonsillitis, mouth ulcers and swollen lymph glands in the neck.
- Irritation and swelling of the eye
- Chest pain, coughing and difficulty breathing
The symptoms typically manifest between 3-5 days after acquiring the infection but can be overdue for up to 14 days. In most cases, recovery is achievable if proper treatment is provided.
How does tularemia spreads?
Remember that the bacteria can enter the body via the eyes, skin, mouth, throat or the lungs. The infection can be acquired from the following:
- Bites from ticks and deer flies
- Direct exposure of the skin to sick or dead infected animals
- Exposure in the laboratory
- Ingestion of contaminated water or poorly cooked meat of infected animals
- Inhalation of contaminated dust or aerosol
Individuals who travel to high-risk areas must avoid contact with deer flies and ticks by applying insect repellants and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants as well as drinking treated water.
Proper care must be observed when landscaping or mowing the lawn to avoid being exposed to sick or dead animals. In addition, dust masks must be worn to minimize the risk of inhaling the bacteria.
The doctor will confirm a diagnosis of tularemia based on the symptoms of the individual and the results of the blood test.
In most cases, antibiotics are commonly used to manage the infection.