Precautionary advice

Precautionary advice

Health, biomedical and wildlife experts continue to gather intelligence on how Tularaemia could behave in southern hemisphere.

General precautionary advice remains in place. This advice is based on the known risks of getting Tularaemia, such as handling wild animals, or getting tick bites. But it is also relevant for a whole range of diseases that are carried by animals and insects in Tasmania.

This is why the advice applies generally to all Tasmanians, and not only for residents and visitors to the West Coast.


1. Restrict your contact with wild animals

To report a sick wild animal, call the Animal Disease Emergency Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Tularaemia can be passed on by handling infected wild animals. In general, it is not a good idea to handle wild animals as they can carry various germs that cause diseases in humans.

Animal handlers should take particular care. We recommend that people take the following general precautions when dealing with all wild animals:

  • If possible, restrict your direct contact with wild animals to what is absolutely necessary.
  • Wear long sleeves and gloves if coming into direct contact with wild animals.
  • Make sure you wash your hands afterwards.
  • If bitten or scratched, clean the injury with warm water and soap, and seek medical advice about whether you need tetanus and/or antibiotic prophylaxis.
  • If you develop a sore that breaks down or fails to heal after an outdoor injury, please see your General Practitioner.

If you are hunting, trapping or skinning wild animals between Zeehan and Queenstown:

  • Use gloves when handling animals.
  • Cook game meat thoroughly before eating.

2. Prevent tick bites

Tularaemia can be passed on through ticks. Ticks can carry a range of disease-causing germs in Tasmania.

If you are going hiking or camping between Zeehan and Queenstown:

  • Use insect repellents containing 20–30 per cent DEET.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks off your skin.
  • Remove attached ticks promptly with fine-tipped tweezers.
  • Don’t drink untreated surface water.

3. Boil drinking water from rainwater tanks, bores and waterways

Reticulated (mains) water that is treated with chlorine is safe to drink. However, raw water supplies carry a risk of contamination from a range of disease-causing germs. There is a low risk Tularaemia may be transmitted through contaminated drinking water.

Untreated water from rivers or dams should always be boiled before drinking or cooking.

If you want to make absolutely sure you don’t get sick from drinking from your rainwater tank or bore, boil the water before drinking or cooking with it.  This is strongly recommended for very young children, the elderly and those with chronic disease.

This is also a timely reminder that rainwater tanks, and other raw water catchment systems, should be maintained. Read more about maintaing raw water sources

Last updated: 24 November 2011