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RI, MA EHS Pest Control Blog

Fleas: Endemic Typhus Cases On The Rise

Endemic (flea-borne) typhus, an illness that prior to 2006 was considered rare in Orange County, continues to occur, with five confirmed or probable endemic typhus cases reported to the Orange County Health Care Agency in the past three months. However, there have been no reports to date in Laguna Niguel.

In the recent cases, four of the people are adults, and one is younger than 18. Endemic typhus is transmitted by the bite of infected fleas, in particular those from cats, opossums and rodents, although other animals may carry the fleas.

The most recently affected individuals live in the northern part of the county, but because these animals are present throughout the county, human cases may occur in any area. Typhus occurs naturally in Southern California, with eight cases reported in Orange County for 2011 to date, six each in 2010 and 2009, 15 in 2008, six during 2007 and one in 2006. Prior to 2006, the last case reported in Orange County was in 1993.

Source = Associated Press

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

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