DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Public health authorities are investigating an outbreak of flea-borne typhus in downtown Los Angeles and epidemic levels of the disease in Pasadena.
The disease is not uncommon in L.A. County but there has been a recent spike in cases in the downtown area, according to County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis.
The Pasadena Public Health Department also said in a press release Friday that it is reporting epidemic levels of typhus fever this year. So far, 20 Pasadena residents have been confirmed to have typhus fever, well above the expected one to five cases per year.
Typhus is a disease that can cause high fever, chills, headaches and rashes. It can be treated with antibiotics.
Typhus is caused by bacteria found in infected fleas that can come from different animals such as cats, rats and opossums.
Pet owners are particularly at risk. The Department of Public Health recommends regular flea treatment for pets.
You can also protect yourself with DEET insect repellent and by staying away from wild animals.
Flea-borne typhus disease on the rise in DTLA, Pasadena