Military researcher infected with tularemia at research laboratory

A military researcher, working at the United States Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, has contracted a laboratory-acquired infection of tularemia.

The infected researcher had been working on the development of a vaccine for the disease at the institute and is currently being treated with antibiotics to combat the infection.

The bacterium Francisella tularensis causes tularemia, which is commonly known as rabbit fever. Tularemia is one of several dangerous pathogens that are being studied at the United States Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Tularemia, which is not transmitted by person to person contact, is considered a potential agent of bioterrorism and biowarfare. The diseases non-specific symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, sore throat and diarrhea.

Infection from food and water contaminated with tularemia causes diarrhea and can cause lesions to form in the throat.

After infection, incubation for tularemia can be from several days to weeks, with people's reactions to the bacteria dependent upon how it's acquired. Tularemia can be fatal but is treatable with the antibiotics streptomycin and gentamicin.

A vaccine is available against tularemia and is used extensively in Russia, however, its use in the United States is limited to only certain high risk occupations.

After recovering from a tularemia infection, reinfection is rare as a long last immunity is achieved.