Tularemia as a result of outdoor activities for children in the countryside
To investigate the features of a new tularemia outbreak that occurred in the Thrace region. Materials and methods: The research team visited the village after the identification of the index case. Serum and throat samples were taken from 41 villagers who were examined, and environmental samples were taken in order to identify the source of the outbreak. Culture, serology, and molecular methods were used to search for Francisella tularensis in these samples. Results: A total of 8 children were diagnosed with tularemia. The adults and all of the other children were seronegative for tularemia. All of the patients had a history of swimming in a pool filled with water from a local stream, and contact with stream water was calculated to increase the risk of developing the disease 9.3-fold. Polymerase chain reaction analysis was positive in a lymph node aspirate of the index case and in the home tap water of 3 patients as well as in the spring water and stream water in the village. Francisella tularensis could not be isolated from any culture of samples. Interestingly, the waterborne tularemia outbreak affected only children. Conclusion: Although tularemia has been not reported from Tekirdağ Province for 74 years, the disease reemerged in the region due to the removal of hygienic measures. These clues may signify that the agent had maintained its presence in the region for many years.
Key words: Francisella tularensis, tularemia, outbreak, waterborne diseases, Thrace region of Turkey