Francisella tularensis (Ft) is a Gram-negative, facultative intracellular coccobacillus that is the etiological agent of tularemia. Interestingly, the disease tularemia has variable clinical presentations that are dependent upon the route of infection with Ft. Two of the most likely routes of Ft infection include intranasal and intradermal, which result in pneumonic and ulceroglandular tularemia, respectively. While there are several differences between these two forms of tularemia, the most notable disparity is between mortality rates: the mortality rate following pneumonic tularemia is over ten times that of the ulceroglandular disease. Understanding the differences between intradermal and intranasal Ft infections is important not only for clinical diagnoses and treatment but also for the development of a safe and effective vaccine. However, the immune correlates of protection against Ft, especially within the context of infection by disparate routes, are not yet fully understood. Recent advances in different animal models have revealed new insights in the complex interplay of innate and adaptive immune responses, indicating dissimilar patterns in both responses following infection with Ft via different routes. Further investigation of these differences will be crucial to predicting disease outcomes and inducing protective immunity via vaccination or natural infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)