Boy contracts rare infection

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A 10-year-old West Haven boy is slowly recovering from a disease called tularemia, more commonly known as rabbit fever.

The disease is often transmitted by handling dead rabbits or eating undercooked meat, but in this case, doctors believe and infected horsefly bit the little boy.

Ten-year-old Darrell Oleson is receiving IV antibiotics three times a day. He also had to have his lymph nodes removed. It's all because of tularemia.

Boy contracts rare infection

Oleson contracted the disease in early July when he went fishing with his dad at Locomotive Hot Springs. His mom noticed a bite mark on the back of his neck when they got home. It slowly grew a red ring around it.

Robyn Oleson, Darrell's mother, said, "The thing that really got us going was Darrell was lethargic; all he was doing was sleeping, and it was hard to wake him. And so with both things, we decided we better get him in and find out what was going on. He started running a temp. of 101."

Boy contracts rare infection

His temperature grew to more than 106 degrees. Darrell spent many days in the hospital.

Tina L'Estrange, with the Weber-Morgan Health Department, said, "This is in the environment, it is a risk. We want you to put the DEET on you, but sometimes it does not deter deerflies from biting you."

Darrell is also deaf and has vision problems, but doctors say that did not complicate the disease. He won't be able to return to school for about two months while he recovers.

Darrell's 14-year-old brother is being closely watched, as well. He was on the same fishing trip and has shown some symptoms of the disease.

The health department has place signs warning people of the risk of the disease.


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Sarah Dallof


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