The number of reported cases of zoonotic tularaemia has significantly decreased in Europe, according to a new report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The data show that for 2017, 18 countries reported 447 cases in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA), 413 (92%) of which were confirmed.
Eleven countries (Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom) reported no cases. Two countries, Norway and Sweden, accounted for 40 per cent of all reported cases.
The overall 2017 notification rate was 0.1 cases per 100,000 population (male-to-female ratio 2.1:1), a significant decrease on the previous year (0.2 cases per 100,000 population; n=1096).
While reported tularaemia cases more than halved in 2017 compared to 2016, notification rates varied among Member States and over time, the ECDC noted.
Physicians should be aware of the various clinical presentations of tularaemia (oropharyngeal, glandular and ulcero-glandular, oculo-glandular, pneumonic and typhoid form) and consider tularaemia as a possible diagnosis in any case of culture-negative endocarditis, the ECDC said.
The ingestion of contaminated water is the main transmission route of the disease in Europe. In the endemic regions of Scandinavian countries, tularaemia is typically transmitted by mosquito bites.