F is for Francisella tularensis

F is for Francisella tularensis

Francisella tularensis is a gram negative bacteria that causes a disease called Tularemia. It is most commonly transmitted by insect bites and handling of sick or dead animals. It can be found in many species, although rabbits and rodents are most common, it can also be found in other mammals, including humans, fish, reptiles, birds, and invertebrates. Symptoms can take many forms depending on the route of exposure, although the common variable is a fever of up to 104°F.


Luckily, Tularemia can be treated with medication and generally is not fatal for humans.


Prevention is the key, yet again. Using gloves when handling dead animals, not running over injured or dead animals with a lawn mower, and using insect repellents are all excellent ways to prevent exposure and infection.


Stay safe this summer!

Reported Tularemia cases 2002-2012 (www.cdc.gov)

Reported Tularemia cases 2002-2012 (www.cdc.gov)


10 thoughts on “F is for Francisella tularensis

    • I would never want to make you afraid to go outside, just don’t lick things you shouldn’t! (you’ll learn more about that on “L”) The world is full of wonderful things and scary things, but that is what makes it all amazing! As for Tularemia, it is most commonly found in people that catch rabbits for eating – they get infected during the skinning process. Historically, many of these people do not wear gloves.


  1. Yikes! Sounds pretty nasty. Thankfully, I’ve never had to deal with roadkill or anything of the like. I think it would break my heart.


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