Skip to Content



Tularemia is an illness caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis. It is also called deer-fly fever or rabbit fever. The bacteria that cause tularemia are often found in animals, such as rodents, birds, reptiles, and fish. The bacteria can survive for weeks at low temperatures in water, moist soil, hay, and straw. Tularemia is not spread from person to person.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have fainted.
  • You have sudden chest pain.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • Your symptoms do not improve even after taking antibiotics.

Call your doctor if:

  • You feel weak and confused.
  • You have a fever with or without chills.
  • You have a new rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Antibiotics are given to treat your infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent tularemia:

  • Cook meat thoroughly before you eat it. This is especially important when you eat meat from hunting.
  • Get vaccinated if you are at high risk for tularemia. This includes people who hunt or work with the germs.
  • Remove ticks immediately. Use an insect repellant to prevent insect bites.
  • Wash all things that come into contact with a sick or dead animal. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first. Tools that have been used on an infected animal should also be cleaned carefully. Use bleach or alcohol to kill the bacteria and prevent them from spreading.
  • Wear protective clothing , such as gloves, long sleeves, and pants when in contact with wild rodents or other animals. Protective clothing will also help prevent insect bites. A mask may help prevent exposure when you work outside.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Tularemia (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.