Los Alamos is an area that is filled with an abundant wildlife and many of us may have animal companions that live within our homes. Because of this, we must always keep in mind the different dangers of having these animals around.
In the state of New Mexico, there have been reported cases of Tularemia in humans and we would like to provide information designed to help keep you and your animals safe.
Tularemia, or “Rabbit Fever,” is categorized as a rare, zoonotic disease. This disease can be carried in animals such as rabbits, hares, rodents and domesticated animals. This disease can be spread to humans through tick and deer fly bites, skin contact with infected animals, ingestion of contaminated water, laboratory exposure, and inhalation of contaminated dusts or aerosols.
Most infections can be treated successfully, but Tularemia can be life-threatening if untreated. It is important to take precautionary actions to avoid contracting the disease. Some of these steps include the use of insect repellent, avoiding contact with sick or injured animals, and keeping domesticated animals inside or on a tick preventative.
Symptoms of tularemia can include high fever, skin ulcers, swelling of lymph glands, irritation and inflammation of the eyes, sore throat, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms can change depending on the form of contamination.
For more information about symptoms and preventative actions, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/tularemia/index.html or http://source.colostate.edu/how-to-avoid-tularemia-rare-rabbit-fever-reported-in-northern-colorado/ or call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at 1.800.232.4636 TTY: 1.888.232.6348.
If there is a dead animal in your area please avoid contact with it and call Los Alamos Dispatch at (505) 662-8222.