The disease is caused by a bacteria Francisella tularensis. It is the one affecting both humans and animals. Human get the infection of this bacterium when they come in contact with animals affected or contains this infection. Humans can also develop the risk if bitten by any of the insect which has fed on the infected animal. The disease gets spread through inhalation of dried animal faeces or eating undercooked game. People coming in contact with skinning or dressing killed animals also possess an increased risk of getting Tularemia. Similarly, drinking contaminated water containing animal carcasses also increases the risks of rabbit fever in humans.
The disease causes fatigue, fever, headache, body aches etc. The swelling of the lymph nodes is common. The condition can be recognized with a formation of a sore at the site of inoculation. The organism spreads widely causing major organs to fail in their performances. Humans are prone to developing Pneumonia is a common scenario after inhalation. The organism is very strong in its performance and gradually spreads throughout the body.
The condition is a potential bioterrorism agent because it is amongst the few bacteria causing the disease. If untreated, Tularemia causes prolonged fever, fatigue and is fatal in extreme cases. However, if treated appropriately death is rare.
The disease is treated with intramuscular streptomycin or intravenous gentamicin. Oral medications are less reliable and are not recommended as a significant one to rely on. The condition is an infection caused by the Gram-negative bacteria, this is a stronger one and even a small dose of the bacteria in the count of 10-50 bacteria is potential enough to develop the infection in the human body.
Types of Rabbit Fever
Rather than different types of fever, it is more of a different type or species of bacterium causing it. There are four subspecies of the bacterium which are capable of causing the infection in humans. These include F tularensis, F holarctica, F mediasiatica and F novicida. These are the four of the powerful subspecies increasing the risks and have the potential to develop the infection in the human body.
However, the intensity of the disease majorly differs, the infection caused by the species F holarctica is often milder in comparison to the one caused by F tularensis. Also, the symptoms, effects and signs of the conditions also differ prominently. The ulceroglandular tularaemia is usually caused by inoculation of the skin and is associated with open sores and swollen lymph nodes.
However, the condition is uncommon in human with medical statistics showing of observed in one case in one million people.
Causes of Tularemia
It is a type of infection and is generally caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. The infection is uncommon in humans and is generally found in United States. The figures translate to less than 150 cases of rabbit fever in the US in a year. These illnesses are more commonly seen in summer seasons when the ticks and insects are most commonly observed. The condition is often found in children due to weak immunity and resistance power. An infection caused in winter and is primarily associated to hunters involved in the job of handling dead animals.
This particular bacterium affects a lot of animals but is majorly seen in rabbits, hares and rodents. Hence became popular as rabbit fever. Hunters who come in contact with rabbits and their skin are more prone to developing the risks of infection. Similarly, farmers, foresters, veterinarians, landscape workers are also at the major risk of developing the disease and getting affected by the bacterium.
Tularemia is usually acquired when the person comes in direct contact by skinning, eating or otherwise handling the infected animals. In rare instances, the transmission has occurred in the presence of wild rodents which are commonly sold as pets.
Signs and symptoms of Rabbit fever
There are no immediate signs and symptoms of the fever, these are generally observed and appears three to five days after the organism is acquired in the body. The longer incubation period of 14 days have been reported found in patients; they become ill suddenly and have symptoms influenza in connection to fever, aches, fatigue and headache.
In some of the case a non-specific rash may occur. Fever turns up high and goes away a short time and returns back. Other symptoms are accompanied by swollen lymph nodes around the ear and neck.
How is Rabbit fever diagnosed?
Since it is a rare disease, the first step involves suspect of the disease. In this case, physicians do not generally ask o require the medical history or physical history of the patient. The basic diagnosis can be done by making a medical check-up and the doctor will ask about the medical history of tick bite or any occupational exposure which might include hunting or skinning of dead animals.
Blood tissues can be sent for culture to make the exact and accurate diagnosis of the infection. The diagnosis turns up with increasing the maximum risk factors as if found in any of the blood samples, even the laboratory workers has the risk of getting infected. Some of the rapid tests include fluorescent stains and tests detecting parts of the bacteria in urine samples.
Treatment for Rabbit fever
The bacterial infection is treated with the drug called streptomycin. The medicine is given in the intramuscular form twice daily for the span of one to two weeks. The other alternative treatment includes Gentamicin which is given intravenously. These are the different category of drugs and do not penetrate from the blood streams to the brain.
There are also a certain range of oral medications like doxycycline or tetracycline, but these are less effective in comparison to streptomycin. Rabbit fever creates difficulties when present in the human body and hence, need to be cured as soon as possible.
Other category of drugs like ciprofloxacin are the effective treatments in test tubes and are not being widely used in patients across.