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Francisella tularensis subsp. novicida isolated from a human in Arizona

Dawn N Birdsell1, Tasha Stewart2, Amy J Vogler1, Elisabeth Lawaczeck3, Alisa Diggs2, Tammy L Sylvester2, Jordan L Buchhagen14, Raymond K Auerbach15, Paul Keim14 and David M Wagner1*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4073, USA

2 Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, AZ 85012, USA

3 Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, AZ 85007, USA

4 Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

5 Program in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2009, 2:223  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-2-223

Published: 6 November 2009



Francisella tularensis is the etiologic agent of tularemia and is classified as a select agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently four known subspecies of F. tularensis that differ in virulence and geographical distribution are recognized:tularensis (type A), holarctica (type B), mediasiatica, and novicida. Because of the Select Agent status and differences in virulence and geographical location, the molecular analysis of any clinical case of tularemia is of particular interest. We analyzed an unusual Francisella clinical isolate from a human infection in Arizona using multiple DNA-based approaches.


We report that the isolate is F. tularensis subsp. novicida, a subspecies that is rarely isolated.


The rarity of this novicida subspecies in clinical settings makes each case study important for our understanding of its role in disease and its genetic relationship with other F. tularensis subspecies.