Do I need to be worried about Typhus if I have fleas?

Fleas can carry a number of diseases and transmit them to people. One that comes up year after year in the United States is Typhus - a disease that is very common in rodents (and animals like possums) and that can spread to people through fleas. Especially in Texas and California, you will hear about cases nearly every year where people got typhus from fleas.

   

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The symptoms will generally be a fever, chills, a headache, and possibly a rash. The kind of typhus that people get from fleas, endemic typhus, is generally not fatal. However, children or the elderly are at special risk. If you start seeing these symptoms and you've just recently been exposed to flea bites, then you should go to the doctor. typhus is treated today with antibiotics, and the kind you get from fleas is relatively mild compared to other forms of the disease - but 2% of people will still die from it if they don't get treated. So it's essential that you go see a doctor if you think you might have it.

Flea-borne typhus is not directly contagious - but if a flea bites someone who has it, and then bites you, then you could get it from the flea.

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