Tularemia (Francisella tularensis)
Infectious agent: : Francisella tularensis
Description of illness: Tularemia is caused by Francisella tularensis bacteria; rabbits, hares and rodents are the natural hosts. Humans and pets can become infected through direct exposure to infected animals, exposure to tissues or feces of infected animals, or via tick or deerfly bites. F. tularensis is highly infectious and can enter the body through the skin, eyes, mouth or lungs. The symptoms of tularemia usually appear 3–5 days after exposure, and vary depending on the route of infection. Illness ranges from mild to life-threatening, and all forms of tularemia are accompanied by fever and swelling of the lymph glands. The most common forms are: ulceroglandular, glandular, oculoglandular, oropharyngeal, pneumonic and typhoidal. Tularemia is not known to spread from person to person.