Flea-borne typhus outbreak in Pasadena

Flea-borne typhus outbreak in Pasadena

Flea-borne typhus outbreak in Pasadena

Flea-borne typhus, also known as murine or endemic typhus, is a disease carried by fleas infected with bacteria (Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia felis). In 2018, 20 Pasadena residents have been confirmed to have typhus fever, well above the expected one to five cases per year.

The city of Pasadena is reporting an outbreak of typhus, a day after cases surfaced in neighbouring Los Angeles. But it was a cluster of nine associated cases discovered downtown between July and September that got their attention, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Fleas carrying the disease are found on rats, areas where there is an accumulation of trash, and cats, but pets do not get sick from typhus.

Fleas with typhus are a danger in "areas where there is an accumulation of trash", as such an accumulation attracts wild cats, opossums, and other animals.

Typhus isn't contagious between people and is treated with antibiotics. Accumulations of trash that attract animals may increase the risk of exposure.

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The health department recommended several ways to help prevent flea-borne typhus, including using flea control products on pets and not approaching or feeding stray animals.

"Typhus fever is a disease that can cause serious complications requiring lengthy hospitalization, and rarely, death", said Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, Pasadena Health Officer. The exact number of cases were not disclosed.

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