Flea-borne typhus disease reported in downtown LA, officials say

Flea-borne typhus disease reported in downtown LA, officials say

County health officials are working with the city of L.A.to investigate an outbreak of flea-borne typhus downtown and reduce the spread of the disease.

Flea-borne typhus, also known as murine or endemic typhus, is a disease carried by fleas infected with bacteria (Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia felis).

The Health Department announced Friday that there have been 20 confirmed cases of typhus among residents this year. Flea-borne typhus is found regularly in Los Angeles County, especially Pasadena, with most cases occurring in the summer and fall months.

Symptoms typically begin within two weeks of exposure and may include fever, chills, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and rash. The exact number of cases were not disclosed.

This form of typhus spreads when feces from an infected flea come into contact with cuts and scrapes on the skin or get rubbed into the eyes. While animals cannot get sick from typhus, people can.

Typhus is not contagious between people.

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Typhus is treated with antibiotics.

At this time, the county health department recommends pet owners "Use flea control products on pets".

Never feed or touch wild animals.

Don't leave pet food outside.

Areas where trash accumulates can draw stray animals and rodents with fleas, increasing the chances of exposure, health officials added.

Clear areas where rats and stray animals sleep, hide or find food, such as crawl spaces, attics or under decks, and wear gloves and a mask when clearing these areas.

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