Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Francisella tularensis

Synonym(s): Tularemia

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Susan Dawson, Barton Rohrbach, Molly Varga




  • Genus:Francisella- named after Edward Francis.
  • Species:tularensis- named after Tulare County where tularemia was first recognized in ground squirrels.
  • Two main biovars - Type A and type B.

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Clinical Effects



  • Ticks can act as reservoirs of infection.
  • Rodents and lagomorphs are principal vectors.


  • Natural cycle includes ticks, rodents and lagomorphs.


  • Tick vectors (other biting insects?).
  • Cats and dogs can also be infected by ingestion of infected rodents.
  • Aerosol in laboratory.

Pathological effects

  • More severe disease seen in younger animals.
  • Dogs and cattle relatively resistant to disease.
  • Characteristic small yellow, white or gray foci of necrosis on surface of liver, spleen and lymph nodes.

Other Host Effects

  • Facultative intracellular bacterium.
  • Grows inside macrophages and hepatocytes.


Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment

  • Restrict pets from areas with infected rodents.
  • Tick control for pets.


  • Vaccination now available for humans and has been shown experimentally to be protective in rabbits.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Pasetti M F, Cuberos L, Horn T L et al (2008) An improved Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) is well tolerated and highly immunogenic when administered to rabbits in escalating doses using various immunization routes. Vaccine 26 (14), 1773-1785 PubMed.
  • García del Blanco N, Gutiérrez C B, de la Puente V A et al (2004) Biochemical characterisation of Francisella tularensis strains isolated in Spain. Vet Rec 154 (2), 55-56 PubMed.
  • DeBey B M, Andrews G A, Chard-Bergstrom C et al (2002) Immunohistochemical demonstration of Francisella tularensis in lesions of cats with tularaemia. J Vet Diag Invest 14 (2), 162-164 PubMed.
  • Ikäheimo I, Syrjälä H, Karhukorpi J et al (2000) In vitro antibiotic susceptibility of Francisella tularensis isolated from humans and animals. J Antimicrob Chemother 46 (2), 287-290 PubMed.
  • Gustafson B W, DeBowes L J (1996) Tularaemia in a dog. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 32 (4), 339-341 VetMedResource.
  • Baldwin C J, Panciera R J, Morton R J et al (1991) Acute tularaemia in three domestic cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 199 (11), 1602-1605 PubMed.