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Tularemia

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CDC picture of Francisella tularensis 01

Tularemia is an infectious disease resulting from infection by Francisella tularensis[1].  It is the second sample that William provides the KGB with, after his research laboratory concludes their work on Burkholderia mallei.

Background Edit

Primarily affecting small mammals such as rabbits, hares, beavers,  Francisella tularensis is a antibiotic semi-resistant pathogen.  There is a live vaccine available, though its use is only for high-risk groups and it's not available to the general public.

Tularemia Edit

Typical symptoms are fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, sepsis and potentially death.  

The disease has a mortality rate of ~7% if untreated, ~1% with treatment.  Antibiotics work well with the bacteria.[2]

Biological Warfare Edit

F. tularensis is viewed by the CDC as a potential biological warfare agent, and has historically been a part of the US, Soviet, and Japanese biological warfare programs.  Its modern use as a biological weapon is with the intention to incapacitate rather than kill enemies.

US research at the Fort Detrick program concluded its positive potential for use as a warfare agent based on:

  • it is easy to aerosolize
  • it is highly infective; between 10 and 50 bacteria are sufficient to infect victims
  • it is nonpersistent and easy to decontaminate (unlike anthrax)
  • it is highly incapacitating to infected persons
  • it has comparatively low lethality, which is useful where enemy soldiers are in proximity to noncombatants, e.g. civilians

Weaponized strains of F. tularensis can achieve fatality rates of 40-60% and antibiotic resistances.

References Edit

  1. Ryan KJ, Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. pp. 488–90. ISBN 0-8385-8529-9.
  2. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a480022.pdf

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