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October 8, 1973


Author Affiliations

Center for Disease Control Atlanta

JAMA. 1973;226(2):189. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230020039010

Fifty-one years ago in this journal, Dr. Edward Francis1 reviewed information on an infectious disease of man which he had recently christened "tularemia." In 1919,2 he described the isolation of an unusual coccobacillary organism from blood specimens and from specimens of suppurating lymph nodes obtained from patients in Millard County, Utah, with deerfly fever. The organism was found to be identical to that described by McCoy and Chapin from rodents trapped in Tulare County in California in 1911.3 Millard County (population 9,600) had recorded over 20 cases of deerfly fever each year between 1917 and 1920 and most had occurred in farmers who recalled a deerfly bite preceding the local skin lesion and subsequent systemic illness. During further studies in 1919, Dr. Francis showed that the outbreaks were coincident with the peak biting season of the deerfly (Chrysops discalis), demonstrated Bacterium tularensis (now Francisella tularensis) in the