U.S. man in Taiwan contracts tularemia

Taiwan’s Department of Health recently reported that a U.S. citizen was confirmed to have contracted tularemia and is currently hospitalized in Taipei.

The DOH said the case is the first instance of the disease being imported into the country since 2007, according to TaipeiTimes.com. The 67-year-old man from San Francisco, California, showed symptoms of the disease before flying to Taiwan in late June.

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control announced that the patient would be released soon. He was admitted to the hospital with fever, pneumonia and a build-up of fluid in his lungs.

Tularemia symptoms vary greatly depending on how the bacteria enters the body. All forms of the disease are accompanied by high fever, which can reach 104 degrees, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the Taiwan CDC, tularemia is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted to humans from animals, but not from humans to other humans. It is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, which can be found in many kinds of animals. Rabbits and rodents are especially susceptible and often die in large numbers during outbreaks.

Taiwan CDC’s Deputy Director Shih Wen-yi told travelers to disease-prone areas to take precautions, according to TapeiTimes.com. He warned against contact with animals and eating raw, uncooked meat.