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Dangerous Tick Disease Found in Wyoming
South Dakota Ag Connection - 10/08/2018

Wyoming Department of Health officials say a dying squirrel found in Rawlins tested positive for tularemia. The disease is potentially deadly for humans. Wyoming Game and Fish staff submitted the animal to the State Veterinary Laboratory in Laramie for testing.

Also known as deerfly fever or tick fever, tularemia is a bacterial disease affecting many species of wild and domestic animals and can be spread to humans. It frequently affects rabbits, hares, and ground-dwelling rodents. Dogs, sheep, pigs, horses, and, because of their hunting nature, cats especially, are also at risk

"People may become ill with tularemia after being bit by ticks, deer flies or horse flies," said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. "It can also be transmitted through breaks in the skin or through breathing airborne dust when handling infected wild or domestic animals, or through ingestion or contact with insufficiently cooked meat or untreated, contaminated water."

The symptoms can include fever, swollen and painful lymph glands, inflamed eyes, sore throat, mouth sores, skin ulcers and diarrhea.

The health department offered these tips to avoid tularemia:

- Never touch a dead or sick animal and give wildlife their space.

- Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see ticks crawling on clothing.

- Tuck pant legs into socks.

- Apply insect repellents such as those containing 20 percent or more DEET and/or picaridin.

- Upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, search self and children for ticks and remove if found.

- Check pets for ticks; use tick control products recommended by veterinarians.

- Prevent pets from bringing caught wild animals to your home.

- If you have an ill pet, promptly seek veterinary care.

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