Tularemia, rabbit fever, surfaces in Pueblo County

The first human case of tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, in Pueblo County this year has surfaced.

“Pueblo residents are advised that tularemia-causing bacteria may be present in some of the mammals, especially rabbits, rodents, and hares, and on the ground where these animals may be active,” said Jody Carrillo, division director of the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, in a news release. “Human tularemia cases are rare but people who have been exposed to contaminated soil, drinking contaminated water, or inhaling the bacteria are at risk for developing the disease.”

The victim has been identified only as an “adult.” The release did not specifically say how the illness was contracted.

Tularemia can be spread through soil contaminated with the droppings or urine of sick animals such as rabbits, the release said. Tularemia-causing bacteria can aerosolize and be inhaled when a person mows, blows leaves, or turns up soil.

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