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Euro Surveill. 2014 Nov 13;19(45):20956.

10 years of surveillance of human tularaemia in France.

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Foodborne and zoonotic diseases unit, French Institute for Public Health Surveillance, Saint-Maurice, France.


Tularaemia has been mandatorily notifiable in France since October 2002. The surveillance aims to detect early any infection possibly due to bioterrorism and to follow up disease trends. We report the results of national surveillance from 2002 to 2012. A case is defined as a patient with clinical presentation suggestive of tularaemia and biological confirmation of infection or an epidemiological link with a biologically confirmed case. Clinical, biological and epidemiological data are collected using a standardised notification form. From 2002 to 2012, 433 cases were notified, with a median age of 49 years (range 2 to 95 years) and a male–female sex ratio of 1.8. Most frequent clinical presentations were glandular tularaemia (n=200; 46%) and ulceroglandular tularaemia (n=113; 26%). Most frequent at-risk exposures were handling hares (n=179; 41%) and outdoor leisure exposure to dust aerosols (n=217; 50%). Tick bites were reported by 82 patients (19%). Ten clusters (39 cases) were detected over the 10-year period, as well as a national outbreak during winter 2007/2008. The tularaemia surveillance system is able to detect small clusters as well as major outbreaks. Surveillance data show exposure to dust aerosols during outdoor leisure activities to be a major source of contamination in France.

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