Tularemia is a disease that can infect animals and people. Rabbits, hares, and rodents are especially susceptible and often die in large numbers during outbreaks. People can become infected in several ways, including:
Tick and deer fly bites
Skin contact with infected animals
Drinking contaminated water
Inhaling contaminated aerosols or agricultural and landscaping dust (i.e. mowing over rabbit droppings)
Symptoms vary depending how the person was infected. Tularemia can be life-threatening, but most infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
Steps to prevent tularemia include:
Using insect repellent
Wearing gloves when handling sick or dead animals
Avoiding mowing over dead animals or droppings.
In the United States, naturally occurring infections have been reported from all states except Hawaii.