Nevada Woman Contracts 'Rabbit Fever' From Her Cat

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A woman in Smith Valley, Nev. contracted a rare rodent illness from her pet cat, the Las Vegas Sun reported

Richie Simmons was feeding her cat medication for what had been diagnosed as kidney problems when she contracted tularemia, also known as "rabbit fever," through a cut on her finger.

The disease s named after Tulare, Calif., where an outbreak spread through squirrels in 1911, according to the report.

Tularemia is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis and is highly contagious between animals and humans. The antibiotic streptomycin is usually used to treat the disease. However it also can be treated with gentamicin or tetracycline-class drugs such as doxycycline.

Simmons, who suffered a high fever and infection to her finger, was treated for a month with ineffective antibiotics. Her cat died.

A neighbor, who is also a doctor, sent samples from Simmon's finger to a lab and she was diagnosed with tularemia. She is now recovering.

Click here for more on this story from the Las Vegas Sun.