Rabbit fever
Rabbit Fever

Rabbit Fever: 4 Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complication, and Prevention

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If all this time we often hear the risk of transmission of animal-borne diseases, then that comes to our head, such as malaria diseases, dengue fever, and avian influenza. But have you heard of rabbit fever?

Rabbits are one of the favored pets because of its cuteness. However, the number of bacteria that exist in the body of rabbits or other mammals can cause rare diseases.

Tularemia (rabbit fever, deer fly fever) is a bacterial infection caused by Francisella tularensis.

This is a type of infectious disease that will usually attack the eyes, lungs and also skin with an intermediary insect bites, bloodsucking animals that have infected bacteria causes tularemia and also infected animals. This fever-causing disease can be infected in humans when they handling infected animal carcasses or consume an immature animal’s meat.

Tularemia Types

  1. Ulceroglandular tularemia, on the hands and fingers form ulcers (open wounds) accompanied by swelling of the lymph nodes on the same side.
  2. Oculoglandular tularemia affects the eye and causes redness and swelling accompanied by swelling of the lymph nodes. This type may be a result of touching the eye with the finger of an infected hand.
  3. The glandular tularemia, occur swelling of the lymph nodes without the formation of ulcers, allegedly the source is the swallowed bacteria.
  4. Typhoidal tularemia causes high fever, abdominal pain and fatigue.

If it reaches the lungs, pneumonia can occur.

Rabbit Fever Symptoms

Various types of rabbit fever can infect several different parts of the human body so that the symptoms that will be caused also differ. But generally, symptoms will occur between 3 to 5 days after exposure to bacteria and can also occur 2 weeks after exposure. However, there are some common symptoms that usually occur in rabbit fever such as:

  • Hot fever reaches 40 degrees Celsius
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Causes of fever accompanied by nausea and vomiting
  • Enlarged liver and spleen organs
  • Incredible fatigue
  • Lymph node rupture and pus
  • Inflammation in the roof of the mouth, hands, eyes and fingers.
  • Red rash on infants and older persons
  • Dry cough
  • Burning sensation in the chest area.

Causes of Tularemia

Tularemia is caused by a bacterial infection of Francisella tularensis. There are several ways this bacteria can infect humans:

  • The most common way through a bloodsucking insect bite, e.g. Tick
  • Contact between blood or infected animal tissues with eyes, mouth, or blisters and wounds on the skin
  • Processing or eat rabbit meat that is not cooked until cooked
  • Consumption of contaminated water
  • Inhaling contaminated aerosol or dust from the farm

One of the things to note is that the disease is not contagious between humans.

Tularemia Diagnosis

Tularemia is sometimes difficult to diagnose. The reason is, because the disease is rarely found, so the symptoms can be concluded as a result of other more commonly found diseases. If you are exposed to animals that are sick or dead, or have symptoms after an insect bite, do not forget to mention it while consulting.

Supporting examination that can help determine the diagnosis include a complete blood test and culture, serology examination, PCR, and so on.


Tularemia can be effectively treated with antibiotics such as streptomycin or gentamycin, which is administered via injections directly into the muscles or veins. Depending on the type of tularemia, the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics such as tetracycline instead.

The sufferer will also receive therapy for any complications such as meningitis or pneumonia. In general, patients are immune to tularemia after recovering from this disease, but some people can relapse or reinfection again.

Complications and prevention

When tularemia has caused symptoms, but is not immediately resolved or even ignored, these are some of the most dangerous complications of the body of the sufferer:

Bone infection

The danger of tularemia is that the bacteria can spread to the bones of the sufferer so there is a bone infection.


Irritation in the heart part is a big risk to occur and cause swelling in the pericardium. Antibiotic therapy may be needed when it is at a serious level.


Infections of the membrane and fluid around the spinal cord and the brain can threaten the sufferer’s life.


The pneumonia is apparently fatal, as it triggers a breath failure, a condition in which the lungs are unable to take enough oxygen and are not even able to excrete carbon dioxide.

As a precautionary measure so as not to be attacked by tularemia and also do not make the condition of tularemia more serious, try to protect yourself from insects and other pets.

For those who have pets in the house also need to protect them so as not to be exposed to tularemia where this step automatically prevents transmission of human beings. For those who love to garden, should also protect themselves well, so as not to easily inhale the bacteria cause tularemia.

It is also important to ensure that the processing and cooking of the animal meat to be consumed is correct and thoroughly cooked when eaten. Tularemia is a rare disease, but it is not unlikely that it can attack us at any time.

Read also:
Bubonic Plague: Transmission, Causes, Symptoms, and When To See A Doctor

Last Updated on August 14, 2020 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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