Tularemia infects another Mesa County woman
Tularemia has been confirmed in a second Mesa County woman this year. She was likely exposed through a bite from a deer fly or tick while on public lands in the Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River in Mesa County.
Two travelers from out-of-state, one adult and one child, were also diagnosed with the infection after spending time along the Colorado River around the same time period Mesa County residents were infected.
It’s common to have animals test positive for tularemia each summer, however this is the second confirmed case in a Mesa County resident this year and the third case since 2011.
The State of Colorado has seen elevated numbers of human cases of tularemia so far this year. Sixteen cases were confirmed statewide in 2014, compared with 27 cases recorded to date this year, as of Friday, Aug. 14.
The BLM and Mesa County Health Department urge residents to take precautions while in areas where wildlife is active.
Take these precautions to avoid being exposed to tularemia:
Do not handle or feed wild animals.
Use insect repellant with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep tick and deer flies off your skin.
Avoid grassy and brushy areas when recreating outdoors when hiking, picnicking, or during any activity that can disturb soil, causing tularemia bacteria to become airborne.
If you need to dispose of an animal carcass on your property, wear gloves and use a long-handled shovel to place it in a garbage bag, and then place the bag in an outdoor garbage can.
Do not handle or drink untreated water.
Protect your pets. Prevent them from hunting or eating wild animals. Contact a veterinarian if your pet becomes ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.
The BLM and Mesa County Health Department have posted signs warning of tularemia activity in areas of public lands where the infection has been reportedly contracted.
Tularemia is treatable. Contact your health care provider if you notice symptoms including sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, swollen glands, dry cough, progressive weakness, an infected ulcer-like bite and difficulty breathing.
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