The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) encourages residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families from flea-borne typhus. Long Beach has recorded the most cases of typhus in 2021 than any previous year. The Health Department continues to provide education to residents, health care providers, and veterinarians, who all play an important part in stopping the spread of the disease in Long Beach.
|Typhus Cases1 by Year in Long Beach, CA|
|1Includes confirmed, probable, suspect cases
2Year to date as of 12/07/21
Typhus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
WHAT IS TYPHUS?
Flea-borne typhus (also called murine typhus) is caused by the bacteria (Rickettsia typhi) and is transmitted by infected fleas, which enter the skin through scratching following a bite or an any cuts or scrapes. Infected fleas can be carried by rats, domestic or feral cats, dogs, raccoons and opossums.
WHO GETS FLEA-BORNE TYPHUS?
Typhus can affect people of all ages. Most infected patients do not recall a fleabite, but often have contact with animals such as pet dogs or cats that carry these fleas in or near their home. Pets and other animals do not become sick from typhus.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF TYPHUS?
Symptoms begin within 2 weeks after contact with infected fleas. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE TYPHUS?
See your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms of typhus after coming into contact with fleas. Your provider can do a blood test to look for typhus.
CAN TYPHUS BE TREATED?
Flea-borne typhus can be treated with antibiotics. The treatment is most effective when given soon after symptoms begin.
HOW CAN TYPHUS BE PREVENTED?
Make sure your cats and dogs are free of fleas. Additional steps include:
- Do not leave pet food outdoors
- Avoid debris and overgrown vegetation that may harbor wild animals
- Do not provide food or water for wild animals, including feral cats
- Store trash in cans with secure lids
- Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent labeled for use against fleas when outdoors
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT TYPHUS?
California Department of Public Health:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Flea-borne Typhus Warning
Flea-borne Typhus FAQ
For additional information call the Communicable Disease Control Program at (562) 570-4302.
Last Updated: 8/15/19