Health officials: Five men sickened by rabbit fever in Weld County

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Five men in Weld County have been sickened by tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, in the past five weeks, health officials said Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Five men in Weld County have been sickened by tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, in the past five weeks, health officials said Tuesday.

The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment said the men are ages 56 to 80 and are from Greeley, Erie, LaSalle, Milliken and Longmont.

“Of the five men, two were hospitalized and three recovered at home,” health officials said in a news release. “One man remains hospitalized, but is in stable condition.”

Officials believe the men were exposed to tularemia while mowing lawns or working yards.

RELATED: What is tularemia

Colorado has 16 open human tularemia cases, while in an average year, fewer than four people are typically infected, the news release said.

Last month, a Boulder County resident died after contracting tularemia after doing yard work.

Health officials said tularemia can be avoided by wearing gloves and insect repellent while gardening or landscaping, using a dust mask when mowing or doing yard work and disposing of animal carcasses with a long-handled shovel to place them in a garbage bag.

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