Flea-borne typhus is a disease caused by bacteria that are found in some fleas and their feces. The bacteria are transmitted from the female fleas to their offspring, and also to the host animal primarily through bites.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms begin from one to two weeks after exposure, and include: fever, headache, chills, body aches and pains, and rash on chest, back, arms and/or legs. Many cases require hospitalization.
Treatment is easy through antibiotics.
How Have Humans Contributed to the Continued Threat of this Disease?
Humans have played an active role in the continued threat of this disease by introducing non-native opossums, cats, and rats, all of which carry fleas. People have also controlled natural predators and created other environmental conditions that are attractive to these introduced species, which are often present in significant numbers outdoors in commercial and residential communities. Leaving pet food out at night may be all it takes to attract a flea-carrying animal, so keep pet food indoors. Keep domestic cats and dogs indoors, away from exposure to fleas.