LA gets hit with flea-borne typhus outbreak


November 14, 2018

A growing outbreak of flea-borne typhus has hit downtown Los Angeles, particularly the homeless population.

According to Buzzfeed, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is reporting that the average number of reported cases has doubled to about 60 cases each year. Sixty-three cases have already been reported in 2018.

Flea-borne typhus is transmitted to humans when they are bitten by fleas infected with Rickettsia typhi or R. felis. Rats, opossums and cats are typically carriers of the infected fleas.

Buzzfeed reported that Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a statement: “Typhus infection can be prevented through flea control measures on pets, using insect repellent to avoid flea bites, and clearing areas that can attract wild or stray animals like cats, rats and opossums.”

About the Author

Photo courtesy of Danielle Pesta

Danielle Pesta is the senior digital media manager at North Coast Media, the parent company of PMP magazine. She can be reached at

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