This bacterium is an aerobic nonmotile gram-negative, pleomorphic, bipolar coccobacillus that is prevalent in the south central USA.
Tularemia is spread by aerosol, ingestion, and biting insects, especially ticks (Amblyomma spp and Dermacentor spp).
Clinical signs in affected mustelids include fever, anorexia and lethargy. Acute deaths from acute septicemia are very common.
Prodromal signs are minimal.
Postmortem findings reveal necrotic nodules scattered in the parenchyma of the lungs, liver, spleen, and mesenteric lymph nodes.
Diagnosis is based on microbial isolation of F. tularensis and PCR assaying of infected tissue.
Treatment of individual animals is not usually effective.
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