Skip to main content

Santa Ana Has Typhus Outbreak

by Elisa Black-Taylor (USA)

Santa Ana, located in Orange County, California, is experiencing a typhus outbreak and the feral cats in the area are getting caught in the middle of a bad situation that's not their fault.


Officials set six traps at Frances E. Willard Intermediate School on the 1300 block of North Ross Street. They've also set traps at El Sol Science and Arts Academy. This is being done in an effort to catch feral cats after a child in the area contracted typhus last month and had to be hospitalized. The victim has since recovered. Due to privacy laws, all that's known about the victim is the disease was contracted in the Broadway-Washington Avenue area of Santa Ana.

Now Vector Control officials have set traps for feral cats, possums and other small animals that may carry the disease via fleas. They have said any animals trapped will be tested and euthanized. Officials have already handed out information to the public on the illness and how to administer flea products to prevent a flea infestation.

Endemic and murine typhus are both caused by a bacteria found in infected fleas and their feces.

The problem is this isn't going to solve the problem. For one thing, it's doubtful these feral cats are coming close enough to the population to allow the fleas to jump from the cat onto a human or for the flea feces containing Rickettsia typhi, and Rickettsia felis to be in contact with the human. I can already tell this is going to be a really bad year for flea infestations. And what are they going to do about all the dogs who wander loose, as well as the wildlife?

This isn't a realistic way to handle the problem. For one thing, if these feral cats are removed, more will come to take their place. The fleas would just jump on the new "host." There are probably stray dogs running loose in Santa Ana. There seem to be as many stray dogs these days as there are stray cats. My guess is more fleas can live on a large dog than a small cat. Yet nothing is being said about trapping and euthanizing the dogs.

The best preventative would be to treat the property in Santa Ana with products recommended to kill fleas that won't be harmful to pets. Treat the property and treat the pets.

Symptoms of typhus include high fever, headache, chills, body aches and a rash. These begin between a week and two weeks after exposure to an infected flea.

Alley Cat Allies, the only national organization dedicated solely to the protection of feral cats, has called out the Vector control officials in an effort to stop the trapping (the "vector" is the flea or lice) .

Several of the traps have been sabotaged by people throwing objects into them to make them spring shut. One trap did catch a possum.

Information on contacting Orange County Vector Control, as well as information on typhus can be found at www.ocvcd.org/typhus.php

Note: Flea-borne typhus is referred to as endemic typhus or murine typhus. It is transmitted by fleas. It is caused by the bacteria, Rickettsia typhi, and Rickettsia felis, which is in infected fleas and their feces.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cat Ear Mites

Brown gunge. Yes, I know this is a ferret! It does show the build up of dark brown to black ear wax caused by the presence of the cat ear mites in the outer ear canal. This parasite is not restricted to the domestic cat, which makes this photo valid and a useful illustration (I was unable to find a suitable photo of a cat with the condition). Photo Stacy Lynn Baum under a creative commons license. Ear mites (minute crab like creatures) are one of the causes of inflammation of the outer ear canal (scientific term for this inflammation is Otitis externa ). The outer ear canal is the tube that runs from outside to the ear drum (the pathway for the reception of sound), which can be seen when looking at the ear. Otitis externa affects humans and often swimmers as it is called "swimmer's ear" in humans. This YouTube video show ear mites under a microscope. They are not actually in the ear in this video. There are many possible causes of Otitis externa in c

Feline Mange

I'll write about three types of feline mange (a) feline scabies or head mange (b) demodectic mange and (c) sarcoptic mange. The source material is from Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - the best on the market . Generalised feline mange? Puerto Rico - Photo by Gotham City Lost And Found Feline Scabies - head mange Head mange or feline scabies, is a fairly rare condition in cats, which is caused by the Notoedres mite (head mite) that only reproduces on cats. The female mites burrow a few millimeters (that is a lot) into the skin around the head, and neck to lay eggs, which hatch and lay their own eggs. Their presence and activities causes intense itching that in turn causes the cat to scratch. The scratching will obviously be noticed and it will cause the skin to become red, scratched and worse infected. Symptoms: hair loss and scabs, thick wrinkled skin and grey/yellow crusts form plus the symptoms of scratching. Feline mange (head mange) is contagious and tr

Cat Anatomy

Cat Anatomy - Photo by Curious Expeditions . The picture above was taken at Wax Anatomical Models at La Specola in Florence, Italy. The photograph is published under a creative commons license kindly granted by the photographer. I am sorry if it is a bit gruesome. It is pretty well all I could find as an illustration that was licensed for publication. Cat Anatomy is a very wide ranging subject. The anatomy of a cat is very similar to human anatomy. If you were writing a biology book for students of biology you would go through every part of the a cat's anatomy in some detail. It would be similar to writing a book about the human anatomy. It would be a thick book and pretty boring for your average internet surfer. So, how do you limit such a big subject and make this post meaningful? The answer I think lies in doing two things: Having a quick general look at cat anatomy - an overview and; Focusing on the areas of cat anatomy that are particular to the cat and of parti