7-3-2018 – The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District (OCMVCD) has recently identified three cases of flea-borne typhus in a small area of the City of Orange. The alert covers the area within Taft Avenue, Tustin Ave, Orange Olive, Lincoln St.
How you get the disease:
Typhus bacteria are commonly transferred to humans as a result of flea bites. People can also become infected by transferring the bacteria to their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Flea-borne typhus is transmitted by the common cat flea which can be found on opossums, raccoons, skunks, feral and domestic cats, dogs, and other mammals.
To reduce your exposure to fleas, follow these guidelines:
- Keep pet cats indoors and consult your veterinarian about flea control products
- Remove outside food sources
- Cover garbage containers
- Trim vegetation around buildings to discourage wildlife
- Report dead opossums, cats, or other animals to local Animal Control agencies
Dangers of Flea Borne Typhus
A person can become infected with typhus bacteria by the bite of an infectious flea. The bacteria can also be found in the feces of some fleas which can contaminate the skin surface while the flea is feeding. If the person scratches the flea bite area, some of the bacteria in the flea feces can enter the person’s blood stream.
Although most illnesses are mild and undetected, many people infected with flea-borne typhus experience fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches 6 -14 days after the flea bite. Some people may also develop a rash that may begin on the chest and spreads to the sides and back. The majority of reported cases in California have required hospitalization.
Where can I get more information on flea-borne typhus?
For further information on the alert: