Tularemia detected in Ohio air

Air sampling performed by health officials in Columbus, Ohio, has revealed the presence of the potentially dangerous Tularemia bacteria this week according to 10TV News.

In large quantities, Tularemia can be used as a biological weapon, though health officials have reported that the public faces no immediate risk from the current level of Tularemia in the air.

The genetic bacterium that causes Tularemia was noted in an air sample taken at a test site in Columbus. Authorities then notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI, Columbus Public Health reported.

"We could call this an environmental detection," Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long told 10TV News. "We know it was one out of multiple samples and we feel we've taken prudent action to understand it and don't consider this a threat to human health."

New, more sensitive air sampling detected the presence of the bacterium, the health officials said, noting that the bacterium occurs naturally in Ohio's environment. The last human case of Tularemia in Ohio occurred in 2009 and resulted from a tick bite.

Tularemia symptoms appear within three to five days of infection and can include sudden fever, chills, headache, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough and weakness.