Champaign-Urbana Public Health District

Additional Cats Test Positive for Tularemia

Monday - Oct 03, 2011

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Encourages Citizens to be Keep Cats Indoors to Help Minimize Tularemia

Champaign, IL - The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) is encouraging area residents to keep cats indoors to reduce the likelihood of contracting tularemia. An additional two cats have been confirmed to test positive for tularemia; one cat from Champaign and one from Urbana. Three cats from two households in Savoy were previously diagnosed with tularemia at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine in July and September. Four of the five cats have either died or been euthanized due to the onset of the disease. Tularemia is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis found in animals (especially rodents, rabbits and hares).

Cats may prey on rabbits and rodents and become infected or they may become infected through tick exposure. Cats may develop a variety of symptoms including high fever, mouth ulcers, depression, enlarged lymph nodes and behavioral changes including not eating. Persons whose cats have contact with the outdoors should take their pet into the veterinarian if they should develop these symptoms.

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