deerfly fever

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Related to deerfly fever: tularaemia


a plaguelike disease of rodents, caused by Francisella tularensis, which is transmissible to humans. It can be contracted by handling diseased animals or their hides, eating infected wild game, or being bitten by insects such as horseflies or deer flies that have fed on such animals.

Symptoms and Treatment. Tularemia begins with a sudden onset of chills and fever, accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting, and severe weakness. A day or so later, a small sore usually develops at the site of the infection, and it becomes ulcerated. There may also be enlargement and ulceration of the lymph nodes and a generalized red rash. In untreated cases, the fever may last for weeks or months. Treatment is with antibiotics, such as tetracycline, streptomycin, and chloramphenicol.
Prevention. Tularemia is usually thought of as an occupational disease. Those who may be exposed to it, such as game wardens and hunters, should take precautions such as wearing gloves when handling wild animals, particularly rabbits and squirrels, and wearing adequate clothing in the woods to prevent bites by insect vectors of the disease. Wild game must be especially well cooked in order to kill the tularemia organism.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


A disease caused by Francisella tularensis transmitted to humans from rodents through the bite of a deer fly, Chrysops discalis, and other bloodsucking insects; can also be acquired directly through the bite of an infected animal or through handling of an infected animal's carcass; symptoms consist of fever and swelling and suppuration of the lymph nodes draining the site of infection; rabbits are an important reservoir host.
Synonym(s): deerfly fever, rabbit fever, tularaemia.
[Tulare, Lake and County, CA, + G. haima, blood]
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