Oklahoma hunters warned about “rabbit fever”

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Generic picture of a man hunting

OKLAHOMA CITY – Hunters across the Sooner State are being warned about a bacterial infection that has been found  in recent weeks.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife says they have received confirmation of two cases of tularemia or “rabbit fever” at Altus Air Force Base and another case in the Blanchard area.

At this point, officials say there are also several other suspected cases of tularemia.

Experts say it is a bacterial infection that can be passed from animals to people and pets. It is usually spread through flea and tick bites, contact with an infected animal, inhalation and contaminated water.

The disease can be present anytime of the year, and usually affects rabbits, hares, muskrats and beavers.

Hunters are urged to stay away from rabbits that are behaving in unusual ways or seem to be lethargic.

Also, wear rubber or latex gloves whenever handling any wild game and wild game meat should be thoroughly cooked before eating.

Hunters are also encouraged to wear tick repellant and not drink raw water from lakes or streams.

If you do become infected, “rabbit fever” can generally be treated with antibiotics.