Reports of human cases of tularemia or "rabbit fever" in Weston and Goshen Counties are raising concerns about the disease in Wyoming, according to Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti.

She says there have also been rabbit die offs due to the disease, as well as reports of dead voles near Devils Tower and a case of the disease in a Washakie County cat.

Deti says  this is cause for concern because the disease is normally not widely seen in Wyoming, and health officials are concerned these could be the first signs of a wider outbreak.

She says the disease can be serious to humans in some cases, and rarely is even fatal. Typical tularemia symptoms include fever, swollen and painful lymph glands, vision problems, sore throat mouth sores, skin ulcers and  diarrhea.

If the bacteria are inhaled other problems can result, including pneumonia. Deti says the disease is usually spread by ticks, deer flies or horse flies. She says that means people should take precuations against being bitten by those insects, including:

-wearing light colored clothing so ticks can be more easily seen

-tucking pant legs into socks to keep ticks from crawling into your pants

-using insect repellants which include at least 20 percent DEET and/or picaridin

-checking children and pets for ticks.

She says people should also avoid handling infected rabbits, squirrels or other animals that appear sick. Swimming in or working in untreated water should also be avoided.