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Tularemia is a disease caused by the bacterium 
Francisella tularensis found in animals (especially rodents, rabbits, and hares). In the United States, human cases of tularemia have been reported from every state except Hawaii, with the majority occurring in south-central and western states. People can get tularemia many different ways: being bitten by an infected tick, deerfly, or other insect; handling infected animal carcasses (such as prairie dogs, cats, dogs, squirrels, rats or rabbits); eating or drinking contaminated food or water; breathing in the bacteria, F. tularensis.


  • Symptoms of tularemia could include: sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough, progressive weakness.
  • People can also develop pneumonia with chest pain, cough, and difficulty breathing, if not treated.


  • AVOID TICKS by protecting your pets, especially cats and dogs, by keeping them indoors. If outdoors with your pets, keeping them out of heavily wooded areas can provide additional protection, as these areas are ideal places for ticks to live.
  • STAY OUT of areas that wild rodents inhabit. If you enter areas with wild rodents, wear insect repellent containing DEET.
  • KEEP pets on a leash at all times. Avoid contact with rodents, rabbits, and hares by not allowing pets to run loose in the fields.
  • AVOID all contact with wild rodents, including squirrels and rabbits; do not feed or handle them.
  • NEVER TOUCH sick or dead animals with your bare hands. If an animal must be moved, use a long-handled shovel to place it in a garbage bag, and place the bag in an outdoor garbage can.
  • AVOID drinking unpurified water from streams or lakes and prevent your pets from doing the same.
  • SEE A PHYSICIAN if you become ill with a high fever and/or a swollen lymph node. Tularemia is a treatable illness when diagnosed early.
  • SEE A VETERINARIAN if your pet becomes ill with a high fever or lethargic. 

General Information

Broomfield Public Health and Environment, Health Protection 720.887.2220