PASADENA, California (KABC) –
Los Angeles County is facing an epidemic of flea typhus, but there are things you can do to help stop the spread of it.
is supposed to be the best friend of man, but dogs are among the animals considered to be guilty of the spread of typhus, a disease that is transmitted to humans through fleas.
Dr. Ying Goh should know that. As a health official in the city of Pasadena, she has seen an increase in the number of confirmed cases of typhus in the area
"Fleas bite infected animals, become infected and if they bite you, you could get sick" Said Goh.
He said that the city gets from one to five cases in the year, but this year they have up to 20.
Pasadena is not the only city that sees an increase in cases of typhus. This year Long Beach has already seen 1
In the county of L.A., there are another 59 cases, enough for health officials to declare it an outbreak.
L.A. County supervisor Kathryn Barger calls for a coordinated response from the government to the growing problem of typhus.
"Last year was hepatitis A, now we cheer, we want public health to become aggressive in dealing with this problem," he said.
Fleas bearing typhoid can also be found on rats, wild cats and other wildlife. It is rarely fatal, but it can leave people suffering from high fever, headaches and rashes – and even land some of them in the hospital.
Barger said typhoid may not be the only Southern California epidemic soon. Our high homeless population and its unhygienic lifestyle has led to this problem and will most likely also lead to others.
"Last week, I started my Monday looking at someone defecating right in front of my car and if you go down to Skid Fila, there are places in India that look better than we have here, and that's where the concentration of the epidemic, "said Barger.
Health officials say the key to preventing the spread of typhus is to keep infected animals
- Things you can do include:
- Do not leave open pet food
- well-covered garbage cans
- Seal all the openings and crawl under the house
- Treat the animals with flea-control medication
The reason why the problem of typhus is growing is still a mystery.
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