Man gets potentially deadly bacterial disease

Man gets potentially deadly bacterial disease
The Wichita Falls Health Department is investigating how a man got a potentially deadly bacterial disease.

A man in Wichita Falls was recently diagnosed with Tularemia - also known as Rabbit Fever. Health officials say it's a rare bacterial infection for this area that comes from tick and deer fly bites, skin contact with infected animals like rabbits and rats, and ingesting contaminated water.

The Wichita Falls Health Department says they spoke to the man and got some background information including any contact he had with rodents or rabbits and any travel he did to areas in the U.S. that have the disease.

Symptoms of the disease are normally flu-like - fever, swollen glands and general discomfort. Health officials say they are not sure how he got the disease. They will be meeting shortly to review the case. He told them he had accidentally run over some rabbits while mowing his yard and health officials say he may have come into contact that way.
"The thing that we really want to impress on people - even if this isn't a local transmission - we have the rodent issue this year. There are a lot of rabbits in the area. So if you have a dead animal in your yard do not to handle that with your hands. Be sure to use a plastic bag, a shovel and to put that in the trash and be sure to wash your hands good if you come into contact with any dead animal."

Tularemia can be deadly if the symptoms aren't caught early and the disease progresses. Health department officials say the good news is it can be treated with antibiotics. The disease cannot be transmitted form person to person - only animal to person. You have to have some contact with either a tick or fly bite or an infected animal.  

According to family members, the Wichita Falls man with the disease has been transferred to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas for further treatment.

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