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Flea-borne Typhus Activity Increases in Tarrant County

Tarrant County Public Health has issued a health alert for Tarrant County in response to a rise in local flea-borne typhus cases. Also known as murine typhus, this bacterial infection is spread by fleas, who contract it from rodents and other wildlife. The fleas can then spread it to humans. Flea-borne typhus is easily treated with certain antibiotics. People experiencing symptoms should consult with a health care provider to be tested and treated for the disease.

To guard against contracting flea-borne typhus you are asked to:

  • Keep yards clean and clutter-free so rodents and stray cats cannot live in the area.
  • Do not leave pet food out at night, it attracts other animals.
  • Prevent rodents from living inside a home. They carry fleas.
  • Treat pets regularly for fleas with a flea control product.
  • Use a commercial flea control product before beginning rodent control in a house or yard. Fleas will search for new hosts when rodents die.
  • Wear gloves and insect repellent when handling sick or dead animals.
  • Use insect repellent when hiking, hunting, camping or engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellent containing either DEET or permethrin and labeled for use against fleas if you think exposure to fleas during activities such as camping, hiking, or working outdoors is possible.

Early symptoms of flea-borne typhus include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Body aches
  • Five or six days after initial symptoms begin, a rash may start on the trunk of the body and spread to the arms and legs

For more information about Murine Typhus, please use the following resources: