Tularemia is a serious bacterial infection which causes a rash, fever, and later septicemia (bacteria invasion of the blood), and infection of the joints and heart valves. It can also cause meningitis pneumonia, and osteomyelitis (bone infection).
The purpose of avoiding contact with rabbits in the summertime is because this is when ticks, mosquitos and fleas, which are vectors for the infection, are most active. Treatment for tularemia involves intensive antibiotic therapy.
YEAH that stuff is definitely no fun I had it a few years back and it was BAD. The docs caught it early on and I was able to avoid the hospital but I spent 3 days on the can before we found out what it was. Mine messed up my digestive system for a while I couldn't keep anything down. Antibiotics knocked it out within a week or so.
I've spent countless hours either on my hands and knees or bent over, messing up my back, looking for blood. One such instance I remember most was a hog hunt a few years ago in Mississippi. I had never shot a hog so when I poked a hole in this guy; I was determined to find him. Wearing snake leggings, I crawled on my hands and knees through the briars and the brambles and bushes where a rabbit wouldn't go. I found a spot of blood here and there but never the pig. And lucky for me, I didn't find...