North Carolina hunter has rabbit fever, health officials say

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WILSON, N.C. – State health officials said a North Carolina hunter has tested positive for rabbit fever.

The Wilson Times reported a second rabbit hunter in eastern North Carolina is showing signs of the disease officially called tularemia.

Although rare, rabbit fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease. Symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough and progressive weakness.

The disease is treated with antibiotics. Officials said both hunters appear to be recovering. Their names have not been released.

Officials said the disease is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. It’s typically found in animals, especially rodents and rabbits. Most cases occur in rural areas.

The disease can be transmitted by eating infected food and can even be transmitted through the air.

Authorities said there have been 17 cases of the illness in North Carolina since 1999. There are about 200 cases reported annually in the United States.

Rabbit hunting season runs from Nov. 17 to Feb. 28.

Read more: The Wilson Times.