A child living in Santa Ana recently contracted a flea-borne virus and had to be hospitalized. A few months earlier, an adult who lives in Orange was also diagnosed with the virus. Both were treated and have since recovered.
In order to fight off a potential typhus outbreak, Santa Ana officials have decided to set out animal traps on two school campuses, located in key areas. Their goal is to catch feral cats and other animals that may be carrying disease-bearing fleas.
“The hope is they catch the stray animals,” said Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. “They will be turned over to Vector Control and they will determine if the animals are infected or if the person got it from somewhere else.”
The Orange County Vector Control has distributed information to residents in the area that advised them on how they can protect themselves.
“Murine typhus” (also called “endemic typhus”) is a form of typhus transmitted by fleas. It is caused by the bacteria “Rickettsia typhi” and “Rickettsia felis”. Human infection occurs because of flea-fecal contamination of the bites on human skin. Rats, cats and opossums maintain the rickettsia colonization by providing it with a host for its entire life cycle.
Murine typhus is most commonly found in Southern California, Texas and Hawaii. Some studies have shown that up to 13% of children were found to have serological evidence of infection.
Murine typhus symptoms include abdominal pain, backache, extremely high fever, hacking & dry cough, headaches, joint pain, nausea and vomiting. Another symptom is a dull red rash that begins on the middle of the body and spreads.
Here are some of the ways that you can protect yourself from this flea-borne virus:
- Protect your pets by having them treated. We highly recommend taking your pets to a veterinarian for treatment.
- Keep your homes and yards free of fleas. The interior areas of your homes can be protected by frequently vacuuming carpets, flooring, upholstery, pet bedding and areas where your pets hang out. These areas may also need to be treated with products to control fleas and insect growth regulators. The exterior areas of your home may also need to be treated. Fleas are most likely to be found in shady areas.
- You need to eliminate places where wild animals can hide or gain shelter. Weeds should be removed and your lawn needs to be kept cut short.
- Remove any food which wildlife may eat. Keep your trash cans tightly sealed.
- Protect yourself when handling dead animals. Never touch a dead animal with your bare hands!
Flea problems can be very difficult to solve on your own. Do you need help with a flea problem at your home or business? Call our office at (949) 631-7348 or use our online order form and ask about our flea treatment programs that are “custom designed to fit your needs”.