Fremont County Public Health is reminding residents to take steps to prevent tularemia after an infected rabbit was found recently in the Ocean Lake area. Tularemia is a disease that can be serious and potentially deadly for humans. Tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever” or “deer fly fever,” frequently affects rabbits, hares and rodents.
People may become ill with tularemia after being bit by ticks, deer flies or horse flies. It can also be transmitted by handling infected animals such as rabbits, or through ingestion or contact with insufficiently cooked meat or untreated, contaminated water.
Steps to help avoid tularemia include:
● Never touch a dead or sick animal and give wildlife their space.
● Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see ticks crawling on clothing.
● Tuck pant legs into socks.
● Apply insect repellents such as those containing 20 percent or more DEET
● Upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, search self and children for ticks and remove if found.
● Check pets for ticks; use tick control products recommended by veterinarians.
● Avoid drinking untreated water
Tularemia symptoms can include fever, swollen and painful lymph glands, inflamed eyes, sore throat, mouth sores, skin ulcers and diarrhea. If the bacteria are inhaled, symptoms can include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough and progressive weakness and pneumonia.
Any individuals who become ill and think they have been exposed to tularemia should seek medical care as soon as possible.
More details about tularemia are available at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiologyunit/disease/tularemia/