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Approximately 200 cases of tularemia in humans are reported annually in the United States, mostly in persons living in the south-central and western states. Tularemia is an occupational risk for farmers, foresters, and veterinarians, and is listed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as one of the six category A, or high-priority, biological warfare agents. Nearly all cases of tularemia occur in rural areas and are associated with the bites of infected ticks, mosquitoes, and biting flies or with the handling of infected rodents, rabbits, or hares. Less commonly, tularemia can be contracted through ingestion of contaminated food or water or by inhalation. Release of the bacteria in a aerosolized form is the most likely method to be used in bioterrorism. Tularemia is extremely infectious. Relatively few bacteria are required to cause the disease, which is why it is an attractive weapon for use in bioterrorism.

There are currently no specific OSHA standards or directives for tularemia.

How do I find out about employer responsibilities and worker rights?

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or worker rights.

OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to OSHA's Regional & Area Offices webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Small businesses may contact OSHA's free on-site consultation services funded by OSHA to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites. To contact free consultation services, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation web page or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.

Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eCompliant Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by an worker are more likely to result in an inspection.

If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.

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