Tularemia is an infectious disease that affects wild rodents, squirrels and rabbits. Humans can become infected through direct contact with an infected animal, mosquito bites, ticks, or deer flies. The disease is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis and is a potentially life-threatening condition.

The form of the disease is determined by where the bacteria entered the body. Direct infection through skin contact causes the most common form of the disease. And inhalation of the bacteria causes the most deadly form.

Tularemia is most often treated with antibiotics. With timely treatment, a full recovery is most often achieved. But in some very severe cases, even with treatment, the clinical condition can be fatal.

What are the symptoms?

The area of ​​entry of the bacteria into the body determines the symptoms.

Symptoms of the ulcero-glandular form /infection occurs through the skin/ are:

  • Skin ulcers in the area of ​​contact with the infected animal or at the site of the bite;
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes near the skin ulcer /most often in the armpit or groin area/< /li>
  • Headache, fever, chills and fatigue;

Symptoms of the glandular form are similar to the ulcero-glandular form, but without skin ulcers.

Symptoms of the pulmonary form, which is the most lethal form of the disease and is transmitted by inhalation, are:

  • Cough;
  • Chest pain;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • High temperature;
  • Pneumonia;
  • Muscle pains;

The characteristic manifestations of the ocular-glandular form of the disease /infection takes place through the eye/ are:

  • Eye irritation;
  • Pain in the infected eye;
  • Swelling;
  • Watering and/or redness in both eyes;
  • Wound on the inside of the eyelid;
  • Swollen lymph nodes behind the ear;

Symptoms of the oropharyngeal form /infection by swallowing the bacteria/ are:

  • Sore throat;
  • Mouth ulcers;
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck area;
  • Tonsillitis – swelling of the tonsils;
  • Vomiting and diarrhea;

Symptoms of the rarest form of this disease – typhoid are:

  • Very high fever;
  • Diarrhea and vomiting;
  • Severe fatigue;

Severe and untreated cases of tularemia can cause chronic heart failure, meningitis – swelling of the coverings of the brain and spinal cord.

What are the risk factors?

Animals are carriers of the bacteria that cause the disease. The risk of developing the disease increases with frequent direct contact with animals:

The risk factors of the disease are:

  • Jobs that require constant close contact with animals – veterinarians, zoo workers, forest rangers.
  • Those living near or near very dense forests;
  • Processing of animal carcasses – hunters, butchers and butchers;
  • Gardening and landscaping;

Treatment of tularemia

Each case of the disease requires individual judgment in depending on its weight and shape. Timely diagnosis creates conditions for immediate initiation of antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics from the aminoglycoside group, such as gentamicin, streptomycin, doxycycline and ciprofloxacin, are most effective.

Quinolones are also sometimes used. Antibiotic therapy lasts between 10 and 21 days, depending on the stage of the disease and the drug used. Although symptoms may last for several weeks, most cases make a full recovery.

Surgical intervention may also be required to drain the swollen lymph nodes or to remove the skin tissue affected by the ulcer. Medicines are also prescribed against headaches and to lower the high temperature.

After healing from the disease, the body has already built antibodies that provide lifelong immunity.

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