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Health Alert: A case of flea-borne typhus in Burbank

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Health Alert graphic A case of flea-borne typhus discovered in Burbank. The Los Angeles County Vector Control has confirmed the case, according to a community bulletin sent out today by the city of Burbank. Endemic typhus fever (aka: murine typhus or flea-borne typhus) is a disease caused by a bacteria known as Rickettsia.

The disease is not transmitted person to person. Infected fleas spread this type of typhus to people. The symptoms include  fever, headache, chills, body aches,pains and a rash can occur on the chest, back, arms and/or legs in some cases. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says a blood test is usually required to accurately diagnosis the disease.

This is the first case of  flea-borne typhus in Burbank this year. There was one case last year, and two in 2012.

County health officials and the Burbank Animal Shelter are recommending these steps for prevention.

 •Do not feed wildlife or feral cats, as they contribute to the flea population.
•Keep your pets on a monthly flea control program. There are products available that kill fleas on pets on contact.
•Use flea combs to check for flea fecal matter on your pets and bathe them regularly to eliminate flea fecal matter.
•Keep your cats indoor and register them with Animal Control.
•Trim brush, pick up fallen fruit, and seal off crawl spaces to discourage wildlife from establishing residency on your property
•Wear protective equipment such as a mask, goggles, and gloves when cleaning possible wildlife nesting areas.
More information on the Burbank city website.

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