Two Cases of 'Rabbit Fever' Confirmed in Coconino County

Aug 19, 2015

Two people in Coconino County are recovering from a rare disease called tularemia, or rabbit fever.

These are the first confirmed cases of tularemia in Coconino County in a decade. The bacterial infection mainly affects mammals, especially rabbits and hares. It can spread to humans who have handled infected animals or been bitten by deer flies or ticks.

Health officials suspect insect bites in the Coconino County cases. Both people have received treatment for the potentially fatal disease. Tularemia does not spread from person to person.  Symptoms usually appear 3 to 5 days after transmission and include skin ulcers, swollen glands, fever, chills, and headache.

The Coconino County public health agency says people should avoid contact with wild animals and wear protective equipment when hunting and cleaning game. Officials also say to use insect repellent and protect pets against fleas and ticks.