North Pole man sickened by ‘rabbit fever’

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials are warning residents after a North Pole man was sickened by tularemia, a bacterial infection known as “rabbit fever.”

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the man became sick after skinning a hare this spring.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human tularemia cases in the United States are relatively rare, with fewer than 200 cases reported per year between 1990 and 2013.

Tularemia symptoms include fever, sore throat and swollen glands. It can be fatal if untreated.

It’s often transmitted to people handling infected rabbits, hares, beavers and muskrats.

Fish and Game advises that Alaska residents try to keep their animals away from hares, which will be slower if they are infected, making them easier to catch.