Skip to main content

U.S. flag An official website of the United States government

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE


Tularemia has been identified as a disease of concern to human, wildlife and domestic animal populations within the United States. It, like plague, is considered a "Category A" disease by the Department of Homeland Security, meaning it could potentially be used as a bioterrorist agent.


Tularemia can be found throughout the US, although mos thuman cases occur in the South-central US.  It is also found internationally, throughout the Northern Hemisphere in places like Japan, Russia and Scandinavia.

Disease Agent

Tularemia is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis.

Affected Spieces

Tularemia mostly affects, and is reservoired within, a variety of mammals including (but not limited to) beavers, water voles, rabbits, hares, skunks and coyotes.

The disease is not contagious from human to human, but can be spread by the bites of fleas, ticks and other arthropods that have fed on infected wildlife, or by contact with the carcass of the infected animal. Reported human cases of tularemia in the United States currently average about 200 yearly, a dramatic reduction from the over 1,000 cases per year that occurred in the 1930s and 1940s.  

NWDP Activities

NWDP biologists and their collaborators are currently sampling aquatic rodents and other susceptible species across the US to detect the presence of tularemia antibodies in their blood.

In humans, tularemia first emerges as a flu-like illness. Depending on the method of exposure to the bacterium, infected individuals may also experience lesions, swollen lymph glands and even the development of pneumonia. When these symptoms are positively identified as tularemia, they can be treated with prescription antibiotics.  

Tularemia Surveillance Updates


Thomas Gidlewski, DVM
4101 Laporte Ave
Fort Collins, CO 805021

Complementary Content