Francisella tularensis

Authored by: Luke C. Kingry , Jeannine M. Petersen

Manual of Security Sensitive Microbes and Toxins

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466553965
eBook ISBN: 9781466553989
Adobe ISBN:


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Present throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the gram-negative organism Francisella tularensis was first isolated in 1912 from rodents suffering from a “ plague”-like disease in Tulare County, California, United States. 1,2 Descriptions of similar illnesses, affecting lemmings in Norway and humans with rabbit contact in Japan, date back to the seventeenth century, suggesting recognition of the disease caused by F. tularensis decades prior to its isolation. 3,4 The first diagnosed (bacteriologically confirmed) human case due to infection with F. tularensis was reported in 1914 in a meat cutter from Ohio, United States. 5 Edward Francis spent his career studying the bacterium and coined the term “tularemia” to describe the resulting disease, after determining deer-fly fever and the “plague”-like disease of rodents observed in Tulare County were both caused by F. tularensis. 6 In 1947, the genus name Francisella was chosen to commemorate Edward Francis’ numerous contributions to the field. 7,8

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