Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Tularemia. (Technical Briefs)

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Tularemia. (Technical Briefs)

Article excerpt

Tularemia is a plaguelike disease in humans. It is caused by the Gram-negative bacteria Francisella tularensis, a hardy non-sporulating aerobic bacteria that can survive at low temperatures in water, soil, organic materials, and carcasses. F. tualernsis is a highly infectious pathogenic bacteria and has long been considered a potential biological weapon.

The bacteria received its name in honor of Edward Francis who recognized and described the human disease. The disease was first described in 1911 in rodents and got its name from the county in which it was discovered, Tulare County, California. Tularemia occurs throughout Europe and North America as well as in various other parts of the globe and is generally considered a rural disease.

It is believed that tularemia is spread naturally by biting flies as well as by contaminated water, plant material, infected animals, carcasses, and aerosolized particles. F. tularensis is transmitted by insect bites, handling of infected materials, ingestion, or inhalation of infected aerosols. Transmission from person-to-person, however, has not been documented.

F. tularensis was reportedly researched as far back as World War II for use as a potential biological weapon. The organism has two main strains, F. tularensis biovar palaearctica [Type B] and F. tularensis biovar tularensis [Type A]. Type A generally is considered the more virulent strain. …

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