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Rare Bacteria Found on Eastern Wisconsin Ticks, Water
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/17/2018

A rare bacteria that can cause illness in both people and animals was discovered in the Ken Euers Nature Area in Green Bay after biologists discovered between 15-20 muskrats had died and tested positive for Rabbit Fever. Also known as tularemia, the bacteria can be transmitted by ticks, as well as certain areas with water.

"It is also transmitted in the muddy and water substrate that's in that area," DNR wildlife biologist Joshua Martinez said. "It could have been from ticks, it could have been from just their habitat that they live in, but yeah it can transmit amongst other animals and to people via ticks."

It is unclear at this time if the muskrats contracted Rabbit Fever from the water, or from ticks. The dead animals were found on April 25.

The muskrats that were found dead were also emaciated, which Martinez attributes to the late spring blizzard that may have cut off some of the animals' food sources.

The Rabbit Fever strain found in the Ken Euers Nature Area is currently the only location in Brown County where it has been discovered.

The strain can cause mild illness in humans and animals, and can be treated with antibiotics.

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