Tularemia is caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis. It is a potentially serious illness in humans. The bacteria are found in animals and insects, especially rodents, rabbits, hares, ticks, and deer flies.


People an get tularemia by:

  • A bite from an infected tick or deer fly
  • Handling infected animals or carcasses
  • Eating or drinking unclean food or water
  • Inhaling bacteria

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sudden fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Dry cough
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea

Other signs and symptoms vary depending on exposure. These can include ulcers, swollen and painful lymph glands and eyes, sore throat, pneumonia, and trouble breathing. Symptoms usually appear three to five days after exposure, but can take up to 14 days.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you have tularemia. Tularemia sputum, or skin tests.

People with tularemia should be treated as soon as possible. This disease can be deadly if it is not treated correctly. Tularemia is treated with antibiotics.


  • Use an EPA approved repellent for use on skin.*
  • Use gloves when handling animals.
  • Wash your hands, especially after handling animal bodies.
  • Cook food all the way.
  • Make sure water is clean and from a safe source.
  • Do not mow over dead animals.

For more information

Visit www.cdc.gov/tularemia