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Flea-Borne Typhus on Rise in OC

Twenty-seven people have contracted the illness this year in Orange County. It can cause severe headaches, high fevers and confusion, and may require hospitalization.

Health officials in Orange County are urging residents to help combat flea-borne typhus from latching onto pets and humans.

Flea-borne typhus, also known as endemic typhus and murine typhus, is a disease primarily transmitted to humans by feral cats, opossums and raccoons. According to a report from the Orange County Health Care Agency, 27 human cases of the disease have been reported this year, up from last year's 10 cases.

"The number of human cases since 2007 do seem to be rising steadily," Jared Dever, spokesman for the Orange County Vector Control District, said. "The infected fleas come in contact with the domestic animals and they can pick up these fleas and transmit them to humans."

Some people infected with flea-borne typhus will experience symptoms including a severe headache, a sustained high fever, body aches, weakness, confusion and a rash on the chest, back, arms and/or legs.

The reason behind the increase in flea-borne typhus is still unclear, but Dever said the spike in public awareness has resulted in better testing for and reporting of the disease.

When a case surfaces, the OCVCD will do a survey of backyard wildlife to determine the number of fleas found on those animals and a survey of other potential risk factors in a community surrounding a victim.

"Flea-borne typhus diagnosis requires that an initial blood test be performed while the patient is showing symptoms and illness,” Dever explained. "And a second blood test be conducted after symptoms have subsided to detect for the presence of antibodies to the bacteria that causes flea-borne typhus."

Unlike West Nile Virus, there is a cure for flea-borne typhus and Dever says, "It's entirely treatable and preventable."

To keep flea-borne typhus away from your home and pets, the county health department recommends the following tips:

  • Consult your veterinarian regarding safe flea control medications for your pets which can break the bridge of transmission between pets and humans
  • Keep your home and yard in good repair by removing overgrown vegetation and debris where rodents, opossums, and feral (wild) cats may hide
  • Keep screens on crawl space covers and vents in good repair 
  • Avoid contact with animals that carry fleas, and do not attempt to capture and relocate these animals to other areas
  • Eliminate all food and water sources around your home, including open trash cans, fallen fruit around the yard, pet food and bird feeders
  • When cleaning nesting areas of rats and opossums, spray area with disinfectant, and wear protective clothing and equipment (i.e., mask, goggles, gloves)
  • When treating your yard or animal harborage areas with insecticides, only use products labeled for flea control and follow all directions carefully

For more information about flea-borne typhus, visit the Orange County Vector Control District at ocvcd.org.

Andromeda December 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Well, when you have a porous international border next to a 3rd world banana republic and virtually zero domestic immigration enforcement you are going to see the resurgence of diseases that were seemingly eradicated decades ago. Typhus is not the only defunct disease making a comeback. Do your research. Why do you think your kids need a gazillion vaccinations before they can attend public schools these days??? THINK!!!!
Shripathi Kamath December 11, 2012 at 09:51 PM
"Flea-borne typhus, also known as endemic typhus and murine typhus, is a disease primarily transmitted to humans by feral cats, opossums and raccoons." Yes, this is definitely caused by illegal immigration, especially after a couple of years (at least) of declining illegal immigration (http://bit.ly/QUgjfk) Also Solyndra, Benghazi. "The reason behind the increase in flea-borne typhus is still unclear, but Dever...." But we know better than to listen to a librul/RINO stooge like Dever. Hello? Agenda 21.
Andromeda December 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Look at the disease caused by human to human contact that we eradicated in American decades ago that is resurfacing today. Disease caused by unhealthy living conditions and lifestyles. Medical doctors much smarter than myself have attributed a good part of that to unbridled illegal immigration into America since the invaders are not screened prior to entry. And they come from disease infested 3rd world banana republics and bring their disease with them spreading it to the rest of us. So it all make common sense. The truth is painful at times. Better to grit your teeth and accept the simple truth than to ignore it and suffer the consequences. But much of America is in deep, deep denial on many issues today. And that is why we are a dying empire.
Shripathi Kamath December 11, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Yes, 27 cases, up from the 10 the previous year, is clearly caused by pet racoons of illegals which are also obviously illegal, *and* illegals themselves. I suspect this, and only this is the reason why Dever a government stooge says that the cause in the uptick of the flea-borne typhus is unknown. Dever knows! "So it all make common sense. The truth is painful at times. Better to grit your teeth and accept the simple truth than to ignore it and suffer the consequences" Benghazi was bad and painful Typhoid is bad and painful Therefore Typhoid is caused by Benghazi. Common sense rulez!
MFriedrich December 11, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Maybe we should leave special low-profile bird baths in the back yard with anti-flea bar soap.Then the cats, racoons and rats could just take a bath and wash off the fleas. Thank goodness for all of the chlorinated swimming pools in Lake Forest. Those help too. Don't blame Ranger Rick and Puss N' Boots for what is a fundamental animal hygiene issue.
Andromeda December 11, 2012 at 11:00 PM
I try to use common sense with you and it doesn't work. So here. I will provide you with FACTS. Read and digest this. And, please, don't respond with bible quotes: "According to Dr. Laurence Nickey, director of the El Paso heath district “Contagious diseases that are generally considered to have been controlled in the United States are readily evident along the border ... The incidence of tuberculosis in El Paso County is twice that of the U.S. rate. Dr. Nickey also states that leprosy, which is considered by most Americans to be a disease of the Third World, is readily evident along the U.S.-Mexico border and that dysentery is several times the U.S. rate ..." "A June, 2009 article in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that a majority (57.8%) of all new cases of tuberculosis in the United States in 2007 were diagnosed in foreign-born persons. The TB infection rate among foreign-born persons was 9.8 times as high as that among U.S.-born persons." http://www.fairus.org/issue/illegal-immigration-and-public-health
Shripathi Kamath December 11, 2012 at 11:41 PM
"I try to use common sense with you and it doesn't work." It did work, it told me a lot about common sense "So here. I will provide you with FACTS. " OH goodie! Now we can nail Dever for hiding the fact that the 10 to 27 jump in flea-borne typhus was caused by illegals, and illegal raccoons of illegals "http://www.fairus.org/issue/illegal-immigration-and-public-health" Yup, confirms it alright. FACT: Diseases can be caused by foreign-born nationals FACT: All illegals are foreign-born, even if all foreign-born nationals are not illegal FACT: Flea-borne typhus has been caused and OC official does not know what caused it COMMON SENSE CONCLUSION: Therefore flea-borne typhus was caused by illegals. "And, please, don't respond with bible quotes" OK, I'll just summarize and hope that you pass the cure for leprosy to Dr. Nickey. He can look up details in Leviticus 14:2-52 http://yhoo.it/T68SjE: Get two birds. Kill one. Dip the live bird in the blood of the dead one. Sprinkle the blood on the leper seven times, and then let the blood-soaked bird fly away. Next find a lamb and kill it. Wipe some of its blood on the patient's right ear, thumb, and big toe. Sprinkle seven times with oil and wipe some of the oil on his right ear, thumb and big toe. Repeat. Finally find another pair of birds. Kill one and dip the live bird in the dead bird's blood. Wipe some blood on the patient's right ear, thumb, and big toe. Sprinkle the house with blood 7 times...
Shripathi Kamath December 11, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Since it'll still not be clear, note that when health officials and professionals find a cause, they publish it, and then it is no longer an unknown cause. As in: "A June, 2009 article in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that a majority (57.8%) of all new cases of tuberculosis in the United States in 2007 were diagnosed in foreign-born persons. The TB infection rate among foreign-born persons was 9.8 times as high as that among U.S.-born persons." Note also that the term foreign-born does not imply that all were illegal. Nor that if a disease did indeed come across a border, it was brought forth by an illegal. It is not as if germs can tell whether someone is illegal. In the case of the flea-borne typhus in the article, they said that they do not know. Which, if one used common sense it means, "they do not know" It does not mean "it was caused by illegals", or "it was not caused by illegals" or "it was caused by one badly infected racoon who came in contact with many pets at the OC fair"
MFriedrich December 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM
"when you have a porous international border next to a 3rd world banana republic and virtually zero domestic immigration enforcement you are going to see the resurgence of diseases that were seemingly eradicated decades ago." I don't think typhus was ever "eradicated". It is a bacteria, not a virus. It is not on either the US or Mexico vaccination schedules, nor on the WHO vaccination schedule (which Mexico follows). So I don't think proximity of the two countries really matters re: typhus. There is a vaccine for it, but it's optional, and I don't think many people get it. This is probably because some pretty common antibiotics are very effective in treating typhus, like tetricycline and doxicycline. Typhus can definitely kill you, but it's one of those so-under-the-radar-I-can-still-kill-you diseases.
Andromeda December 12, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Shri, immigrants who come to america legally are required to get screened for illness, to include a chest xray for TB. So the chance of those referenced in the NE Journal of Medicine being illegal is very high. Why do you think they load the kids up on vaccines in school these days? I never had to get 15 vaccinations when I started school like they must today. It's because of the public schools are being infiltrated with banana republic immigrants. Everyone knows this. It's just that in our politically correct society most are afraid to say it. I'm not. :^) You need to go back to school and load up on some 'common sense' courses. Apparently you got shorted on those.
Joker Joe December 12, 2012 at 04:51 PM
copy and paste BERKELEY, Calif. (KABC) -- The University of California, Berkley has received a $1 million gift to fund the education of illegal immigrants. The money, donated by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, is the largest gift for this type of scholarship ever at an American university. The 2011 California Dream Act made illegal immigrants eligible for privately funded college scholarships and state financial assistance.
Andromeda December 12, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Boy, times have sure changed, William. Back in my day that would have been referred to as 'aiding and abetting the enemy'. I am very very happy that I am as old as I am.
Kathi December 15, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Just wondering if typhus has always been around in the US? I had not been aware of it being an issue here before. I did get an immunization for it back in 77 before going overseas back in the 70s. My next door neighbor was a dr who was knowledgeable about those kinds of things so he gave me I think all but yellow fever immunization (which requires special care for the vaccine). Also back in 83-84, living in HB, I had a cat who was an outdoor cat (I don't think he would have been happy indoors all the time) who would wander & catch gophers in the wild. & they didn't have the type of flea control products they have now back then. I never heard anything about typhus so just wondering.

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