JEFFERSON COUNTY - A rabbit found near South Table Mountain Park died from tularemia, an uncommon but serious infectious disease, according to Jefferson County Public Health.
This is the first positive case of tularemia in an animal in Colorado this year, and the first positive case of tularemia in an animal in Jefferson County since 2015.
Tularemia is often spread through the bite of infected ticks and deer flies or through handling infected sick or dead animals, like rabbits or other rodents.
Though less common, the disease can also be spread by eating the meat of infected rabbits or by inhaling airborne bacteria or drinking food or water contaminated with urine from an infected animal.
Though tularemia is rare in Colorado, there are about 200 human cases of the disease in the U.S. each year.
Treatment with antibiotics is effective during early stages of the diseases, but if diagnosis and appropriate treatment are delayed, life-threatening complications may follow.
Medical care should be obtained as soon as symptoms appear.