Acute Communicable
Disease Control

 
Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856
Email:acdc2@ph.lacounty.gov

Call 211 For Information 24/7

Have questions about things like where to go for vaccinations or other health care services?

Call 2-1-1.

Adobe Reader

Note: PDF documents on this site were created using Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or later. If you are using an earlier version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (4.x or less), document functionality may be reduced.
Acute Communicable Disease Control
Flea-Borne (Endemic) Typhus

Typhus refers to a group of infectious diseases that are caused by rickettsial organisms and result in an acute febrile illness. The principle diseases of this group are epidemic (or louse-borne) typhus, flea-borne (or endemic) typhus, and scrub typhus.

Flea-borne typhus (sometimes called murine typhus) is the only one of these diseases naturally occurring in LA County and is caused by two bacteria Rickettsia typhi and R. felis. Flea-borne typhus can spread to humans from bacteria found in infected fleas. Infection happens when the feces from infected fleas are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in the skin or rubbed into the eyes.

Symptoms can start within two weeks after contact with the infected flea and include high fever, headache, chills, and body aches. A rash can appear on the chest, back, arms, or legs. In rare cases, there may be swelling at the lining of the brain (meningitis) and heart valves (endocarditis). Fatalities are uncommon, occurring in less than 1% of cases. The disease is typically mild in young children. Typhus infection is not vaccine preventable, but can be treated with antibiotics.

LAC DPH HEALTH ALERT UPDATE: Outbreaks of Flea-Borne Typhus Los Angeles County (10-12-18)

LAC DPH HEALTH ALERT: Outbreak of Flea-Borne Typhus in Downtown Los Angeles (10-4-18)

PRESS RELEASE: Public Health Reports Several Cases of Flea-Borne Typhus
(10-4-18)


SIGN UP: To receive the free weekly emailed West Nile Virus and Other Arboviral Diseases Report (published during WNV season) email: ACDC2@ph.lacounty.gov 


Resources:

Typhus Frequently Asked Questions 
 English / Spanish
image of mother and child
Typhus Tips for Prevention
English / Spanish

Occupational Health FAQs 
 English / Spanish
image of mother and child
Typhus Infographic  
English / Spanish

REPORTING
Flea-borne typhus and other rickettsial infections are reportable in California. Reporting of cases guides the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to target surveillance activities and health education. A standard Confidential Morbidity Report (CMR) can be used to file a report; the CMR may be faxed to the DPH Morbidity Unit at (888) 397-3778 or (213) 482-5508. You may also report cases by telephone during normal business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to (888) 397-3993. For cases among residents of the cities of Long Beach or Pasadena, please contact their local health departments.

TESTING: Typhus Testing Information for Health Professionals at the LAC DPH Laboratory


Special Studies Report (2015)
Multi-Agency Response to a Flea-Borne Typhus Outbreak Associated with a Mobile Home Community

Additional Resources

 

ZikaButton
ZikaButton
 
Los Angeles County Seal: Enriching lives through effective and caring services