Tularemia death reported in Champaign County

CHAMPAIGN - Champaign County health officials say that one person has died of a rare infectious disease called tularemia.

According to Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde, tularemia can be spread by tick or deer fly bites, or through contact with infected cats or rabbits.  However, the disease cannot spread from human to human.  The district declined to identify the victim.

The disease, also called rabbit fever, can lead to problems such as difficulty breathing.  About 15 percent of cases are fatal.

In 2011, the Illinois Department of Health reported five cases of tularemia.  In 2012, 4 cases were reported.

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