Tularemia detected in St. Louis

Published 18 October 2006

DHS’s BioWatch sensors identified the rabbit fever near Busch Stadium; officials discount terrorism; tulermia common in Missouri in the summer and fall; though outbreak was benign, BioWatch proves its mettle

The fans were hopping out of their seats during Tuesday’s National League Championship Series game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets, but DHS officials said that a detected outbreak of rabbit fever, or tuleremia, had nothing to do with it. Sensors operated by the Department of Homeland Security’s BioWatch Program and placed near Busch Stadium in St. Louis detected tulermia particles in the air, and further testing at a local laboratory confirmed the result. Tulermia is common in Misssouri, especially in the summer and the fall — sensors in Houston and Washington have also detected the fever in recent years — and DHS officials have discounted terrorism as the cause of this particular event. That is good news, both for the people of St. Louis and for the BioWatch prigram. One problem with many DHS initiatives is that one rarely knows if they will work until the moment of truth. That DHS sensors worked when the threat was benign increases our confidence that they will when it is not.

-read more in Jim Salter’s AP report