North Dakota Health professionals are asking you to watch out for tularemia. It’s a rare infectious disease that can infect animals and people.
Also called “rabbit fever,” rodents and rabbits are most likely to get the infection.
But people can become infected by inhaling contaminated aerosols and drinking contaminated water. You can also get it from a tick bite.
For prevention, you’re asked to use insect repellent, avoid mowing over dead animals and wear gloves if you have to touch dead animals.
“If I was handling a dead animal that had tularemia and had a cut on my skin, it could get into my skin that way and then I may develop a skin ulcer,” says Michelle Dethloff, an epidemiologist for the North Dakota Department of Health. “If I ran over a rabbit while I was mowing my lawn, I can inhale it — then I will have things such as a fever or signs of respiratory infection.”
The North Dakota Health Department reports four cases of tularemia this year in humans. It can be effectively treated with antibiotics.