Tularemia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Tularemia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is a type of infectious disease that is quite rare. This disease can attack humans and animals. In animals, it is often found attacking rodents such as rabbits. However, it can also affect other animals such as birds, sheep, dogs and cats.

Tularemia Symptoms

The symptoms that are felt can vary, depending on how this bacteria infects. Symptoms that appear can be:

  • Fever, which can reach 40 ° C, is generally present.
  • Ulceroglandular, usually caused by insect bites. Complaints submitted were in the form of skin ulcers that appeared in the area where the bacteria entered. This complaint is accompanied by swelling of the regional lymph nodes (usually in the groin or armpits).
  • Glandular, generally caused by insect bites. Complaints that appear are swollen regional lymph nodes, without any ulcers on the skin.
  • Oculoglandular, caused by bacterial contamination of the eye. Complaints include irritation and inflammation of the eye, pain in the eye, ulcers on the inside of the eyelids. Complaints accompanied by swollen lymph nodes in front of the ear.
  • Oropharyngeal, caused by consumption of contaminated food or drink. Complaints usually include sore throat, ulcers in the mouth or canker sores, tonsillitis, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck area.
  • Pneumonia, caused by bacteria entering the respiratory tract (inhaling contaminated aerosols or dust) and can also be caused by other forms of tularemia that are not treated adequately so that the bacteria spread through the blood to the lungs. Is the most serious form of tularemia. Complaints can include dry cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing.
  • Typhoidal, is a combination of general symptoms (without local symptoms or special forms of tularemia) such as extreme fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea, enlarged liver, enlarged spleen, pneumonia.

Tularemia Reason

Tularemia is caused by an infection with the bacterium Francisella tularensis. There are several ways this bacterium can infect humans:

  • The most common way through the bite of blood-sucking insects, such as fleas ( tick )
  • Contact between blood or infected animal tissue with eyes, mouth, or skin abrasions and cuts
  • Processing or consuming rabbit meat that is not cooked thoroughly
  • Consumption of contaminated water
  • Inhalation of contaminated aerosols or agricultural dust

One thing to note is that this disease is not transmitted between humans.


Tularemia is sometimes difficult to diagnose. The reason is because this disease is rarely found so that the symptoms can be concluded as a result of other diseases that are more commonly found. If you are exposed to animals that are sick or dead, or experience symptoms after an insect bite, don’t forget to convey this during the consultation.

Investigations that can help determine the diagnosis include complete blood count and culture, serological examination, PCR, and so on.

Tularemia Treatment

Tularemia is caused by bacteria, therefore it is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics taken must be according to a doctor’s prescription and consumed until they run out. The recommended antibiotics are generally from the aminoglycoside group.


Several things can be done to prevent tularemia:

  • Protect yourself from insect bites

For example, using clothes that cover the arms and legs, using insect repellent. Be vigilant when gardening. You should use personal protective equipment, such as gloves and a mask, when in contact with soil and gardens.

  • Be careful when contacting or handling animals, especially rabbits

Use gloves and safety glasses when working with rabbits. Wash hands with soap after contact and cook rabbit meat until done.

  • Protect pets

Your pet can get tularemia if it eats a sick rabbit or is bitten by an insect that contains the bacteria that causes tularemia.

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