Francisella tularensis is a highly infectious aerosolizable intracellular pathogen that is capable of causing a debilitating or fatal disease with doses as low as 25 colony-forming units. There is no licensed vaccine available. Since the 1950s there has been concern that F. tularensis could be used as a biological threat agent, and it has received renewed attention recently owing to concerns about bioterrorism. The International Conference on Tularaemia in 2003 attracted more than 200 delegates, twice the number of participants as previous meetings. This is a reflection of the increased funding of research on this pathogen, particularly in the United States.
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