Typhus In Texas; Flea Bites Suspected

The Daily Texan is reporting that murine typhus cases are on the rise and flea bites in the Austin-Travis County area are the culprit.

With 15 cases of the disease reported this year and four in the month of August, officials were so concerned that they decided it was time to alert the public so that hey could institute prevention measures such as making sure pets are kept flea-free and that any animals (which can bring fleas) living under a home are eliminated.

Symptoms of typhus, which can be fatal if left untreated, include fever, body aches, abdominal pain, a hacking, dry cough, chills, vomiting and rashes along the back, chest, legs and/or arms according to the National Institute of Health.

University of Texas personnel believe that even though its a serious affliction, they don’t see the recent typhus outbreak as a reason for residents and students in the area to panic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is performing an inspection of the environment.

Carole Barasch from the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department said that people can be exposed to disease anywhere with wild animals carrying the disease from flea bites being the challenge for exterminators and health specialists, alike.

Since fleas can be spread over a large area any preventative extermination efforts to subdue a flea infestation are considered too costly and ineffective.

August 22, 2008 – 12:33 pm

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