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.
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.
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.