Francisella Tularensis - Potential Biological Agent

Taleski, Vaso and Zdravkovska, Milka and Markovski, Velo (2013) Francisella Tularensis - Potential Biological Agent. In: The 5th Eurasia Congress of Infectious Diseases, 15-18 May 2013, Tirana, Albania.


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Francisella tularensis is a small, nonmotile, aerobic, gram-negative coccobacillus capable of surviving for weeks at low temperatures in water, moist soil, hay, straw, or decaying animal carcasses. F. tularensis is the causative of the zoonotic disease tularemia. F. tularensis is one of the most infectious bacterial pathogens known, as few as 10-50 organisms can cause disease. Humans can become incidentally infected through diverse environmental exposures: bites by infected arthropods; handling infectious animal tissues or fluids; direct contact with or ingestion of contaminated food, water, or soil and inhalation of infective aerosols. Humans can develop severe and sometimes fatal illness, but do not transmit the disease to others.
F. tularensis have few subspecies: 1) F. tularensis subsp. tularensis (type A), highly virulent, found only in North America. The bacterium is transmitted among animals and from animals to humans by ticks, occasionally deerfly, or by aerosols; 2) F. tularensis subsp. holarctica (type B), moderately virulent, occurs in Eurasia and North America, mainly associated with streams, lakes, ponds, rivers and semi-aquatic animals such as muskrats and beavers (water-borne disease). Type B tularemia has been observed during war times (during Second World War 100 000 cases occurred each year, in Kosovo in 2000 and 2003 over 300 cases each year); 3) F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica, rarely reported, isolated only in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; 4) F. tularensis subsp. novicida is of low virulence, isolated in USA, Canada, Spain and Australia; 5) F. tularensis subsp. philomiragia, is of low virulence, associated with salt water (Atlantic, Mediterranean).
Tularemia is very rear in Macedonia, but in 1996 an epidemic of glandular/oral-pharyngeal tularemia occurs in East part of the country (26 cases confirmed by serology only, subspecies not confirmed).
F. tularensis could be used as a biological weapon in a number of ways. Release in a dense populated area would be expected to result in an abrupt onset of large numbers of acute, nonspecific febrile illness beginning after 3–5 days (incubation 1–14 days). An aerosol release would likely have the greatest adverse medical and public health consequences. Airborne F. tularensis would be expected to principally cause pleuropneumonitis, might contaminate the eye (ocular tularaemia); penetrate broken skin (ulceroglandular or glandular disease); or cause oropharyngeal disease with cervical lymphadenitis.
Stockpiling effective antibiotics to treat infected people, coordinating a nation-wide program,
sharing of information, education for health professionals (prevention, diagnosis, treatment), public and the media are essential needs for prevention and control of tularemia, occurred naturally or by possible bio attack by F.tularensis.

Francisella tularensis, tularemia, Biological Agent.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Subjects: Medical and Health Sciences > Clinical medicine
Medical and Health Sciences > Health sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Medical Science
Depositing User: Vaso Taleski
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2013 13:19
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2013 13:19

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