Ticks found along Lopez Canyon hiking trail test positive for tularemia or ‘rabbit fever’

SORRENTO VALLEY (KUSI) — Several ticks caught on the popular Lopez Canyon hiking trail in Sorrento Valley have tested positive for tularemia, a potentially deadly bacterial disease commonly known as “rabbit fever,” the county announced Tuesday.

If bitten by an infected tick, the bacteria can cause flu-like symptoms in people, including a high fever and skin ulcers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but can be fatal.

The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has found an increased number of ticks this year. However, the ones caught in Sorrento Valley are the only ones that have tested positive for any disease.

Ticks can also carry Lyme disease and spotted fever.

Anyone who discovers a tick on themselves should carefully remove it. Those who develop a rash or fever within several weeks of being bitten should see a doctor, county officials said.

The DEH offered the following tips for protecting against tick-borne illnesses while outside:

  • Wear insect repellant
  • Stay on designated trails
  • Avoid grass
  • Frequently check your clothing and body for ticks
  • Leave pets and home or keep them leashed
  • Check clothes, gear and pets thoroughly for ticks upon arriving home

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