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Francisella tularensis is one of the most infectious pathogenic bacteria known, requiring inoculation or inhalation of as few as 10 organisms to initiate human infection. Inhalational tularaemia following intentional release of a virulent strain of F. tularensis would have great impact and cause high morbidity and mortality. Another route of contamination in a deliberate release could be contamination of water. Seven clinical forms, according to route of inoculation (skin, mucous membranes, gastrointestinal tract, eyes, respiratory tract), dose of the inoculum and virulence of the organism (types A or B) are identified. The pneumonic form of the disease is the most likely form of the disease should this bacterium be used as a bioterrorism agent. Streptomycin and gentamicin are currently considered the treatment of choice for tularemia. Quinolone is an effective alternative drug. No isolation measures for patients with pneumonia are necessary. Streptomycin, gentamicin, doxycycline or ciprofloxacin are recommended for post-exposure prophylaxis.


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