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Burbank reports first flea-borne typhus case of the year

March 20, 2014 1:40:42 PM PDT
A case of flea-borne typhus was confirmed in Burbank by Los Angeles County Vector Control.

The case is the first in Burbank of 2014. One case was reported in 2013; two cases were reported in 2012 in Burbank, according to the Burbank Police Department.

Details of the 2014 case were not released.

Flea-borne typhus, also known as endemic typhus fever or murine typhus is a disease caused by bacteria. Endemic typhus is not directly spread from person to person.

People become infected when they come into contact with fleas infected with the bacteria. Fleas defecate as they feed and infection occurs when flea feces containing the bacteria are scratched into the bite site or transferred to other openings such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The Environmental Health Vector Management Department has advised Animal Shelter officials that the number of confirmed cases in Burbank is not out of the ordinary but people should still be vigilant and follow the recommended steps for prevention.

  • Do not feed wildlife or feral cats, as they contribute to the flea population.
  • Keep your pets on a monthly flea control program. There are products available that kill fleas on pets on contact.
  • Use flea combs to check for flea fecal matter on your pets and bathe them regularly to eliminate flea fecal matter.
  • Keep your cats indoor and register them with Animal Control.
  • Trim brush, pick up fallen fruit, and seal off crawl spaces to discourage wildlife from establishing residency on your property.
  • Wear protective equipment such as a mask, goggles, and gloves when cleaning possible wildlife nesting areas.

For additional information on the disease, symptoms and prevention, please review the Endemic Typhus Fever Pamphlet at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/docs/bullmurinetyph.pdf.


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