Read about rabbit fever medical facts: what is the definition of rabbit fever, what are the signs and symptoms, medical treatment & how to treat rabbit fever, information about the causes, diagnosis, and related rabbit fever diseases.

Definition: What is "rabbit fever"?


Rabbit fever is an infectious disease that attacks the skin, eyes & lungs. It is also referred to as deerfly fever or tularemia.

Symptoms & Signs

Individuals exposed to the bacteria usually become sick within two to 10 days. Various types of the disease exist but affected individuals usually experience fever, chills, headache & exhaustion. A certain type affects the eyes causing pain, redness, swelling & discharge, as well as ulcer inside of the eyelid. Another type causes vomiting & diarrhea.

Treatment: How to Treat "rabbit fever"?

Patients are effectively treated through injection of antibiotics such as streptomycin or gentamicin into a muscle or vein. However, other patients may only be prescribed with oral antibiotics such as tetracycline & receive therapy for complications such as meningitis or pneumonia. Those who recovered from the disease usually become immune but others experience a recurrence or reinfection.


The bacterium Francisella tularensis causes the disease. It spreads through insect bites & direct exposure to an infected animal, airborne bacteria & consumption of contaminated food or water.


The doctor checks culture samples of the patients' blood or sputum for F. tularensis. However, diagnosis is preferably done through identification of antibodies to the bacteria in the patient's blood sample. Patients may also undergo a chest X-ray to check for signs of pneumonia.

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