A rabbit in Laramie County has tested positive for tularemia, health officials announced Thursday.

The animal was found in Hillsdale, according to the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department.

Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is a rare infectious disease that typically attacks the skin, eyes, lymph nodes and lungs.

The disease mainly affects rabbits and rodents, but it can also affect humans and pets.

People can become infected in several ways, including through tick and deer fly bites and skin contact with infected animals.

Tularemia can be life-threatening, but most infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

Health officials recommend the following precautions:

  • Stay out of areas inhabited by wild rabbits and rodents. If you must enter areas frequented by wild animals, always wear insect repellent containing DEET.
  • Prevent your pets from hunting or eating wild rodents or rabbits.
  • Avoid all contact with wild rabbits and rodents, including squirrels; do not feed or handle them.
  • Never touch sick or dead animals with your bare hands. If an animal must be moved, place it in a garbage bag using a long-handled shovel, and place the bag in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Don’t mow over animal carcasses and consider using a dust mask when doing landscape work.
  • Avoid ticks. The best protection for pets, especially cats, is to keep them indoors. If outdoors with pets, keep them out of heavily wooded areas, which are ideal habitats for ticks.
  • See a health care provider if you become ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.
  • Contact a veterinarian if your pet becomes ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.


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