The USGS National Wildlife Health Center is proud to nominate the publication Tularemia for a Blue Pencil Award in the technical report category. This publication provides a pragmatic synthesis of the ecology of a bacterial zoonotic disease (diseases transmissible between humans and animals) called tularemia, relevant today because of its recent reemergence as an infectious disease of concern and its classification as a Category A select agent with potential as a biological weapon. Category A relates to a governmental classification of select agents that highly regulates scientific investigations and other possession or use. The use of color, many illustrations, photographs, highlight boxes, and tables make this an eye-catching and educational publication.
The target audiences for this report are the general public, wildlife biologists, college students, public health, and homeland security personnel who may be concerned or need to respond to this disease. This publication emphasizes the wildlife element of tularemia and is presented in a format that is useful for a broad audience with varying levels of biological knowledge.
Approximate cost for creating this publication is around $8,000, which includes the cost for printing about 200 copies. Limited hard copies were printed because most of the distribution is via CDs and the National Wildlife Health Center Web site (downloadable PDF). About 500 CDs were created.
Wildlife are a major and important component of the ecology of tularemia in nature, a potential source for access to the highly controlled agent causing this disease and likely to be important in disease transmission and spread should this disease be used nefariously. Nevertheless, there has not been an easily read, educational synopsis for this disease that integrates the wildlife factor with the disease in humans. This publication is designed for a non-technical audience yet is technically sound in providing ecological and microbiological perspectives of general education values as well as insights that can be applied to combating this disease, regardless if due to natural of human-associated events.
Publication is very recent (September 2006). It has already been incorporated in university instruction within two courses at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. According to the latest counts from the NWHC Web site, over 100 people have downloaded the PDF available on the Web.
This publication on tularemia complements a larger book, Disease Emergence and Resurgence: The Wildlife-Human Connection, which addresses a similar audience. Both of these publications create more awareness of wildlife disease issues as well as help increase public knowledge about the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.