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Chapter 62 – Tularaemia

Geoffrey M. Scott

Tularaemia is an acute febrile zoonotic infection. The causative organism is distinguished from other parvobacteria and has been named Francisella tularensis after Edward Francis (born 1872), an American bacteriologist who studied the agent and pathogenesis. Tularaemia is an infectious disease of rodents transmitted from these animals to humans by the bite of infected blood-sucking insects, by handling infected animals, by the ingestion of infected meat or water, or by the inhalation of contaminated aerosols or dust. It is also known locally as deer-fly fever, Pahvant Valley plague, rabbit fever, Ohara disease, yato-byo (Japan) or lemming fever.


Human tularaemia has been recognized in relatively restricted geographical environments in North America (about 200 cases per annum), Europe and the former Soviet Republics, and also to a lesser extent in Japan.[1,2] A recent outbreak was reported from Spain.[3]