The bacterial disease, Typhus, which is spread by fleas and lice, is reaching epidemic levels in the city of Los Angeles. Health officials are now concerned that cases are penetrating areas not typically affected by the illness.
There are currently 57 cases of flea-borne typhus in Los Angeles County. More concerning, health officials are investigating reports of typhus cases in downtown Los Angeles. Some of these cases are said to be within the homeless community.
“Although typhus normally occurs throughout LA County, we are observing several cases in the downtown Los Angeles area,” Dr. Muntu Davis, the county’s health officer, said in Thursday’s announcement.
“We encourage pet owners to practice safe flea control and encourage all cities in the county to ensure maintenance of their trash clean-up and rodent control activities,” he said.
The city of Pasadena is also experiencing high levels of typhus.
Typhus is capable of causing severe complications and often results in long hospital stays.
Residents throughout LA County are being advised to take precautions when it comes to fleas. Residents should make sure their yards are cleared of any debris and should not leave any food outdoors. People are also advised to not feed wild animals.
Typhus is spread from fleas to humans either by the flea itself or through its feces. It can take a couple of weeks before symptoms set in. The disease is typically treated with antibiotics.