Officials suspect Broomfield resident was infected by contact with dead rabbits in yard

Tularemia can be treated with antibiotics

BROOMFIELD, Colo. - A Broomfield resident has tested positive for tularemia, a bacterial infection most commonly transmitted to humans when they handle sick or dead animals.

Broomfield officials said it's likely the resident of the Pony Estates neighborhood was infected after coming in contact with dead rabbits had previously been found in the person's yard.

Tularemia can afflict both animals and humans. It's caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis.

Although tularemia is a potentially serious disease, it is treatable if detected early, Broomfield officials said. The resident has been treated with antibiotics after being evaluated by a healthcare provider.

Earlier this month, Larimer County health officials issued a warning about an outbreak of tularemia among wild rabbits. After there was a die-off of rabbits over a couple of weeks, officials confirmed that one of the rabbits was infected with tularemia.

People can also contract tularemia if they are bit by an infected tick or deer fly, eat or drink contaminated food or water, or inhale airborne bacteria, health officials said.

Typical signs of infection in humans are fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, chest pain, and coughing. Eating or drinking food or water containing the bacteria may produce a throat infection, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

Dogs and cats also get tularemia by eating infected rabbits or other rodents and through tick and deer fly bites. If your pet shows symptoms of illness including fever, nasal and eye discharge, and skin sores, take it to the veterinarian promptly, officials say.

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