Flea-borne typhus warnings issued throughout Orange County

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ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) — Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control is asking people to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their pets from flea-borne typhus.

“When the flea bites, and then they defecate and people scratch those wounds, that’s when the bacteria gets into the person, and then the person is the host, and they can exhibit symptoms,” explained OC Vector Control District Manager Lora Young.

She said symptoms include rash and a fever. Most cases are mild but some may require hospitalization. While pets like dogs and cats may not be affected by flea-borne typhus, Young said they can carry the infected fleas.

“The precautions to take care of pets or take care of your family to prevent disease is keeping your pets on year round flea control medicine, as well as reducing harbor or shelter locations for animals, such as possums, raccoons and feral cats,” Young said.

OC Mosquito and Vector Control is collecting and testing fleas for the disease. Signs are posted in public areas like Tustin Legacy Park, letting people know about the disease.

The posters have been placed because a confirmed case or fleas that have tested positive for typhus have been found in the area.

“We don’t do any spraying for typhus,” Young said. “That may be triggered if we saw multiple cases in a close-knit area, but with one case, it’s a lot of education, awareness and being proactive in the community.”

OC Health Care Agency said only one confirmed case of human flea-borne typhus has been reported.

For more information on flea-borne typhus, click here.

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