According to health officials in Galveston County in Texas, USA, murine typhus (R. typhi) is on the rise. Four cases have been reported so far this year, and they are likely to increase as temperatures rise. Since 2014, the number of cases has been cumulative. In 2014, there was only one reported case; last year, there were 54, according to the health district; in fact, the number is likely higher.
Murine typhus is caused by rickettsiae (organisms found worldwide and classified as bacteria), which are transmitted to humans by fleas. Symptoms include chills, headache, fever and rash. There is no vaccine; the disease can be treated with antibiotics.
Avoid contact with fleas. Use veterinarian-approved flea control products for cats and dogs, such as flea collars, oral medications or spot-ons. Keep rodents and animals (such as opossums) out of your home, workplace and recreational areas.