Objective: To report the clinico-epidemiological characteristics of 16 patients with the diagnosis of tularemia.
Method: Retrospective review of clinical records of patients admitted to the hospital or examined at health centers in Vizcaya, with clinical course and epidemiology consistent with tularemia, from January to March 1998.
Case definition: Patient with suggestive clinical course and epidemiology (exposure to hares coming from the epizootic area) and positive serology (antibodies to Francisella tularensis > 1/160 in convalescent phase serum).
Results: Sixteen patients (8 males, 8 females) with a mean age of 53 years. The incubation period ranged from 1 and 8 days (mean: 5). Nine patients had the ulceroganglionar form, two the pharyngeal form, one the oculoganglionar form and one the typhoidal form. In three patients only cutaneous lesion or lesions were observed. The antibiotic treatment administered included streptomycin for five patients, tobramycin for 2 patients, and ciprofloxacin, azithromycin and amoxicillin (plus doxycycline) for other three patients. Three patients received initially antitermic drugs (with poor response) and later two of them, doxycycline. The administered antibiotic in the remaining three patients was unknown. The clinical course was satisfactory in all of them and so far no relapses have been detected.
Conclusions: The ulceroglandular form, as it appears in literature, was the most common form in this series of patients with tularemia. Neither severe diseases nor complications were observed. Although streptomycin is considered the drug of choice, other antibiotics are likely equally effective, at least for the non complicated forms of the disease.