Two Cases Of Murine Typhus In Rose Park Area; LB Health Dept. Recommends Taking Anti-Flea Precautions
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(June 26, 20060 -- LB's Dept. of Health and Human Services is investigating two cases of murine typhus -- a flea-borne illness -- in Rose Park area of Long Beach.
In a written release, the Health Dept. says murine typhus is spread by fleas living on rodents such as rats, mice, opossums, and possibly cats...and people can get the disease from bites of infected fleas. Murine typhus is not spread from person to person. Its most common symptoms are high fevers, severe headaches, and body aches...and it's usually treated with an antibiotic for a week.
The Nat'l Institutes of Health Medline Medical Encyclopedia indicates there are only about 100 cases of murine typhus nationally per year (typically in the southeastern and southern states). It's a milder form of epidemic typhus and from its description in the Medline Medical Encyclopedia, it's something you definitely DON'T want to get.
LB Public Health officials are asking residents to take precautions to control fleas around their home to protect themselves form flea-borne diseases:
- 1. Consult your veterinarian regarding safe flea control medications for your pets.
- 2. Keep your home, yard, crawl spaces and vent screens in good repair by removing overgrown vegetation and debris where rodents, opossums and feral (wild) cats may hide.
- 3. Avoid contact with these animals. Do not attempt to capture or relocate them.
- 4. Eliminate all food and water sources around your home, including open trash cans, fallen fruit around the yard, pet food, and bird feeders.
- 5. When cleaning nesting areas of rats and opossums, spray area with disinfectant, and wear protective clothing and equipment (i.e., mask, goggles, gloves).
- 6. When treating your yard with insecticides, use products labeled for flea control and follow all directions carefully.
- 7. Contact the Health Departmentís Animal Control Division at 570-7387 if you have questions about opossums or stray/feral cats.
- 8. Report dead opossums or cats to Animal Control for removal.
For more information about murine typhus, LB's Health Dept. says you can contact its Epidemiology Program at 570-4302.
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