KHANTY-MANSIISK, September 10 (Itar-Tass) - As many as 840 tularemia cases, including 141 among children, have been reported from Russia’s Khanty-Mansi autonomous area, a spokeswoman for the local department of the Russian consumer rights protection service (Rospotrebnadzor) told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“As many as 202 people were hospitalized with tularemia, of whom 176 have already been released,” she said, adding despite reports about new tularemia cases the growth dynamics were subsiding.
She said that by now as many as 11,116 people had been inoculated against the disease but, in her words, many people, refused to be vaccinated.
Rospoterbnadzor specialists say the outbreak of this highly dangerous infectious disease was possible because of the decreased immunity to this disease. The majority of those who contracted tularemia are elderly people. More than half of tularemia patients are males. Rospoterbnadzor strongly recommends local residents to get inoculated against this disease.
Tularemia, often called rabbit fever or deer fly fever, is a rare infectious disease that can attack the skin, eyes, lymph nodes, lungs and, less often, other internal organs. It is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. The disease mainly affects mammals, especially rodents, rabbits and hares, although it can also infect birds, reptiles and fish. Tularemia spreads to humans through several routes, including insect bites and direct exposure to an infected animal. Highly contagious and potentially fatal, tularemia usually can be treated effectively with specific antibiotics if diagnosed early.
The previous tularemia outbreak in Khanty-Mansiisk was registered in the 1980s, when it was diagnosed in several thousand patients.