Comparative characterisation of members of the family Francisellaceae
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The family Francisellaceae is rapidly expanding with several new members described in the last few decades. Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular, zoonotic bacterium, the causative agent of tularaemia and a potential biological weapon. The moderately pathogenic F. tularensis ssp. holarctica is endemic in Europe. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that two major genetic clades (B.FTNF002-00 and B.12) of the bacterium are dominant in the continent, which occur in distinct geographic regions. The B.12 genotype of F. tularensis ssp. holarctica is endemic in Hungary. Tularaemia was first diagnosed in humans in 1951 in the country and in the past 20 years 20-148 cases were reported each year. In Hungary besides the potential threat to public health tularaemia is also important economically. As many as 40,000 brown hares are exported from Hungary each year, which should be free of tularaemia.