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We are planning a group trip down Ruby-Horsethief in mid-October, and the trip organizer just issued a warning about the presence of rabbit fleas there, and that we needed to wear insect repellent to avoid getting tularemia.

I hadn't heard any reports about this pest. Has anyone else? Is it something we need to worry about? Been doing this run for decades without such news before?
 

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Its not mentioned as a pathway for tularemia on the CDC website.

Http://www.cdc.gov/Tularemia/

Maybe the organizer meant ticks? The last several years have presented a rise in tularemia cases in Colorado but the highest number has been 16 in 2014. Normally transmitted through direct contact or airborne but ticks are a vector. I wouldn't be as concerned in October after the night time lows drop which is happening this week.

If concerned I would call the state or local health department especially about the efficacy of ,"bug spray" as it can be hit and miss with ticks.

Phillip
 

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Colorado did see a sizable increase in plague and tularemia cases this year.
Tularemia (AKA) rabbit fever is carried by rabbits. Fleas are not a vector for the disease. Fleas carry and spread plague. Ticks really have nothing to do with either of these diseases. They carry Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If anyone has specific questions, pm me.
 

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From the CDC website on Tularemia transmission. No mention of fleas.

Tick or deer fly bites
In the United States, ticks that transmit tularemia to humans include the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). Deer flies (Chrysops spp.) have been shown to transmit tularemia in the western United States. Infections due to tick and deer fly bites usually take the form of ulceroglandular or glandular tularemia.
 

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Sorry to be slightly misleading..... Cataraft girl..... I just wanted to put some corrected information in contrast to the OP.'s original assumption. In CO we don't have lone star ticks. Dog ticks rarely ever bite humans, and wood ticks generally carry Colorado tick fever which is more of a concern with tick bites.
Now I remember why I generally don't get involved in conversations on this website .... Everyone is a fricken expert....
 

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Sorry. Didn't notice that restrac2000 had already posted the CDC stuff. Never mind.
 

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I always see these threads as a rolling conversations; assuming most people are curious and engaged means I need to start from the assumption people are just trying to verify and play with ideas. Sometimes timing comes in as we are typing information at the same time as others as well. I personally didn't see any reason to critique cataRAFTgirl's post especially knowing the fact she tends to be one of the kinder players on this forum; she seems to sincerely care about sharing.

It sounds like you are possibly a professional in a relevant field to the subject, Kris M. If so, do you know what has been the primary culprit for the tularemia cases in Colorado the last 2 years? A quick search mentions a few have been related to field or yard work but that still leaves a dozen or so other cases in the last 2 years without much detail. Mind sharing some insight if you know?

It seems improbable to become infected with tularemia in a place like Ruby/Horsethief all things considered. I am largely curious as I have long term health problems and some of the first things they tested for six years ago were zoonotic diseases/parasites as well as environmental issues like Coccidioidomycosis; I had just come back from a Cataract Canyon trip when common symptoms started and then less than 2 weeks later more severe issues began affecting me permanently. Being without a firm diagnosis leaves one with a sense of curiosity on theses subject which is made more profound by my background in biology and ecology.

Inquiring minds....

Phillip
 

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And the worst ticks are cranky infrequent posters.... ;)
Hey lhowemt......how are the pups? Hope you had a good summer.

Sorry to step on someone's toes. I saw the topic question and was curious since I've taken care of patients with Tularemia in the past. Doing the copy & paste thing from the CDC website instead of reading all the posts. Tularemia is pretty nasty stuff.
 

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Apparently, a woman was infected with Tularemia in Mesa County last august...After floating Ruby in July, I got this email from the BLM...

"Tularemia has been confirmed in a Mesa County woman. She was likely exposed through a bite from a
deer fly or tick while on public lands near the Colorado River in Mesa County.
Mesa County Health Department reminds residents that the bacteria that causes tularemia has been
found in rabbits in Mesa County and may affect squirrels, beaver, muskrats and other rodents, as well as
pets and some livestock. It’s common to have animals test positive for tularemia each summer, however
this is only the second human case in Mesa County in the last decade.
The State of Colorado has seen elevated numbers of human cases of tularemia so far this year. Sixteen
cases were confirmed statewide in 2014, compared with 15 cases recorded to date this year.
The Bureau of Land Management and Mesa County Health Department urge residents to take
precautions while in areas where wildlife is active. "We hope people will take the necessary precautions
to avoid insect bites while enjoying their public lands" said Collin Ewing BLM National Conservation Area
manager.
Take these precautions to avoid being exposed to tularemia:
 Do not handle or feed wild animals.
 Use insect repellant with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
 Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep tick and deer flies off your skin.
 Tularemia causing bacteria can become airborne when soil is disturbed. Wear a mask while
mowing or weed-whacking to avoid breathing in dust if wildlife crosses your property often.
 If you need to dispose of an animal carcass on your property, wear gloves and use a longhandled
shovel to place it in a garbage bag, and then place the bag in an outdoor garbage can.
 Protect your pets. Prevent them from hunting or eating wild animals. Contact a veterinarian if your
pet becomes ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.
Tularemia is treatable. Contact your health care provider if you notice symptoms including sudden fever,
chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, swollen glands, dry cough, progressive weakness,
an infected ulcer-like bite and difficulty breathing.
For more information, call or text Katie Goddeyne at (970) 644-7980 or visit health.mesacounty.us, or call
BLM Colorado Northwest District Public Affairs Specialist Chris Joyner at (970) 244-3097."
 

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You can't let go and you can't hold on. You can't go back and you can't stand still. If the rapids don't get you then the deer ticks will.
 

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Unfortunate to have affected someone on a river trip. Still an extremely rare disease as you are four times more likely to be infected with West Nile than tularemia according to Colorado data for 2015. There are only on average 200 cases a year in the US.

One prediction of global warming and climate change is an increase in zoonotic infections and diseases like this. The warmer temperatures, generically speaking, increase the residence time of the vectors and agents in the environment which increases possible contact with humans. Hopefully we don't see a drastic increase in the west of such illness during the next few decades.

Phillip
 

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There have been several cases on tularemia in the river corridor. It was transferred by mosquitoes and deer flies. Mesa County did issue a health warning a few months back because of the increase in cases. We ask people the take bug spray with DEET and wear long sleeves and pants if necessary. There are still mosquitoes and deer flies but they are starting to die off with the cooler nights.
 
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