NMDOH confirms two human Tularemia cases

New Mexico
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390650 04: A Close Up Of An Adult Female, An Adult Male, Nymph And Larva Tick Is Shown June 15, 2001 Next To A Paper Clip. Ticks Cause An Acute Inflammatory Disease Characterized By Skin Changes, Joint Inflammation, And Flu-Like Symptoms Called Lyme Disease. (Photo By Getty Images)

 Health officials have confirmed two human cases of Tularemia in Santa Fe County.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, a 57-year-old man and 72-year-old woman were diagnosed with the disease.

Tularemia is a rare infection that spreads through insect bites, with deer flies and ticks. The disease can also be spread by handling infected animal tissues while hunting, trapping and skinning of rabbits or other rodents or during the clean-up of rodent carcasses.

In 2018 there was one human Tularemia case and seven animal Tularemia cases. In 2017 there were five human tularemia cases and 39 animal cases.

To Avoid Exposure to Tularemia

  • Wear an insect repellent effective against ticks, fleas, biting flies and mosquitoes when hiking, camping or working outdoors including gardening and landscaping. Effective repellants include: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
  • Ensure your pet has a year-round tick and flea product. Consult with your veterinarian about the product that is best-suited for your pet.
  • Prevent pets from hunting or eating wild animals. Contact a veterinarian if your pet becomes ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.
  • Wear gloves while gardening or landscaping and wash your hands after these activities.
  • Avoid mowing over dead animals, such as when cutting the grass, as this can potentially aerosolize the bacteria.
  • Dispose of animal carcasses by using a long-handled shovel and either bury them 2-3 feet deep (if allowed) or double bag them in garbage bags and throw them in the trash.

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