Rabbit Plague (Tularemia)

    humans and various domestic animals through ticks. It creates an acute septicemic picture that causes deaths in sheep.

tularensis is ‘. It is a very small pleamorphic, immobile, non-spore, gram-negative rod-shaped microorganism, 0.2 millimicron wide, 0.3-0.7 millimicron long. It grows aerobically in blood serum or special media containing protein, with the addition of a little CO2. American strains (F. Tularensis var tularensis) are more virulent than Asian and European strains (F. tularensis var paraearctica).

Against rabbit plague; Hamsters and water rats are very sensitive, rabbits, field mice, musk mice and sheep are moderate, wild or other domestic animals and birds are less sensitive. Humans can get the disease by direct contact with some of these animals or by eating the meat of infected game animals or coming into contact with the products of such animals (cooks, butchers, housewives, hunters, leather traders, etc.).

How Is Tularemia Transmitted?

Infection; It can also be through ticks, lice, fleas, woodworms and bloodsucking flies. The disease is mostly seen in the USA, Russia and less frequently in various European countries. In recent years, it has been observed to occur in our country and Japan.

Seasons also play a role in the emergence of the disease. Infection is more common among humans, especially during hunting seasons. Drinking water and utility waters play an important role in the spread and contamination of the agent. The agent enters the body through the mouth, nose, conjunctiva and skin. Infections among animals; It becomes more common after the bites of ticks or other insects. Ticks have a great impact on spreading. In the spread among rodents, the roles of lice, fleas, wood bees and other stinging flies are more. Hares, water rats, beavers, mountain vole, mole and other wild birds naturally hide the agent in their bodies.

Pathogenesis of Tularemia Disease

In the pathogenesis of the disease, after the agent enters the body, it settles in the deep and exposed lymph nodes and reproduces there. The lymph node in which the factor is located swells and becomes painful. The lymph lump then opens and pus with microorganisms flows out. If the agent reaches the blood vessel from where it enters, it may metastasize to internal proportions.

What are the Clinical Symptoms of Tularemia?

The occurrence of the disease is usually related to the number of infected ticks on the animal. The higher the number of ticks, the shorter the incubation period of the disease. The disease progresses in an acute form in sheep and especially in lambs. There is a high fever (41 C), weakness, an increase in pulse and respiratory rate. In the subacute form, there is weakening, a severe growth in the peripheral lymph nodes, pneumonia and weakness in the posterior parts. The disease also has a foul-smelling dark diarrhea. The animal urinates little but often. Mortality rate is high in acute form. In subacute form, patients can recover within 2-8 weeks and those who survive the disease become immune. If an effective situation in combating ticks is created, recovery from the disease will occur faster. Tularemia is a disease with a latent course.


Since it is a zoonotic disease, care should be taken during autopsy. A large number of ticks can be found on the skin of a recently deceased cadaver. Necrosis of the subcutaneous tissue of such animals, with local swelling of this area, 2-3 cm. dark red congestion areas are seen in diameter. Lymph nodes close to the bitten areas of the ticks are enlarged and their cross-sectional faces are hemorrhagic, there is necrosis and abscess. Areas of edema, hepatization and congestion can be seen in the lung. In addition, liver and spleen tumors can be detected.

How is a clinical diagnosis made?

The clinic is full power. Fluorescence antibody technique and serological methods, culture and animal experiments are used for precise exactness. After the second week of the disease, antibodies are sought in the blood serum by agliitination or other methods.

How Is Rabbit Plague Treated?Antibiotics (such as Tetracycline, Gentamicin, Kanamycin, Streptomycin and Chloramphenicol etc.) can be used in the early stages of tularemia disease. In addition, serum treatment should be absolutely necessary, especially in cases of diarrhea and general symptom disorders. Especially Vitamin C and others should be applied to increase immune resistance.

How Should We Avoid Rabbit Plague?

Our rabbits must be protected from ticks. For this purpose; Emphasis is placed on combat baths, spraying and washing. In recent years, protective vaccines against Franciscella tularensis have been prepared and vaccination studies have been started.

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