Third case of 'rabbit fever' confirmed in metro area

- There are now three confirmed animal cases of Tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever” in Minnesota, according to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. A second cat has been diagnosed with the infectious disease.

Tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever,” is a naturally occurring disease found in wildlife, specifically in rabbits, squirrels and rodents. People and animals can get the disease from fly or tick bites or contact with infected animals.

The disease is rare in Minnesota. So far this year, three cases have been identified in a cottontail rabbit and two cats in the Twin Cities metro area. Usually, zero to five animal cases happen annually.

Outdoor cats that hunt rabbits are at the highest risk. Infected cats often have a high fever, mouth ulcers and loss of appetite. 

People who have had contact with animals like wild rabbits and are showing these symptoms should contact their doctor and Minnesota Department of Health.

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