Tularemia, also referred to as Deerfly Fever or Rabbit
Fever, is a bacterial zoonosis caused by Francisella
tularensis that affects >250 species of wild and
domestic mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and people.
Francisella tularensis was originally isolated in 1911
by McCoy and Chapin, from ground squirrels with a plague-like
illness in Tulare County, California, during the investigation
of a tick-borne plague outbreak in San Francisco. In
1914, Wherry and Lamb established that this plague-like
disease, associated with rodents, could infect humans.
Dr. Edward Francis defined and characterized the organism,
and the disease associated with it. Dr. Francis experienced
the disease four times during the course of his laboratory
investigations with the organisms.
Tularemia occurs in domestic and wild animals, such
as rabbits, prairie dogs and water voles. Humans usually
become infected via contact with infected animals or
contaminated articles and animal products. Tularemia
predominantly presents as a cutaneous infection, but
may occur in gastrointestinal and inhalational forms.
*** The above content has been updated on 12/23/2003