Nobody likes fleas, and unfortunately they are spreading more disease than normal. Fleas can carry a variety of different diseases. For example, fleas spread the commonly known illness known as “cat-scratch fever” and typhus, and fleas even spread the bubonic plague around the entire world, so these are some pretty deadly arthropods. However, it is a sometimes-serious disease that is known as murine typhus that is infecting more and more people in the United States, mostly in Texas.
Cat fleas become infected with murine typhus by feeding on the remains of rodents and other types of animals, such as rats and marsupials (opossums). These animal corpses that cats enjoy feeding on make perfect reservoirs for the murine typhus bacteria. Once the cat gets infected fleas attached to it, then be somewhere else! The cats can come into contact with other pets or humans at which point transmission of the infection is more than likely, depending on the severity of the flea infestation. Cat fleas are the most common types of fleas within the United States.
Humans can easily catch murine typhus from infected cat fleas, but humans can also become infected by making contact with the feces of infected fleas. You are probably thinking that you have nothing to worry about because you know you don’t ever come into contact with flea excrement. However, it is possible to make contact with flea feces by petting a dog or a cat that had infected fleas on them at some point.
People who have become infected with murine typhus may not know it, because the disease mirrors the symptoms of other diseases. Flu-like symptoms are the most commonly reported symptoms. For example, cold sweats, body aches and pains, tiredness, loss of appetite and nausea, and a fever.
Have you ever found fleas within your home? If you have, then how did you get them out, if you ever did?