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,
(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.
Letter to Mayors and City
Managers--Guidance on actions for cities
to help prevent endemic flea-borne
Update on Flea-Borne Typhus in Los Angeles County
LAC DPH HEALTH ALERT UPDATE:
of Flea-Borne Typhus Los Angeles
LAC DPH HEALTH ALERT:
Outbreak of Flea-Borne Typhus in Downtown Los Angeles
Public Health Reports Several Cases of Flea-Borne Typhus
Number of Typhus Cases
in LA County*
Excludes Long Beach and
provisional and subject
**Update as of 12/4/20.
Updates on hold due to
public health emergency.
Outbreak Location, LAC**
**Final update as of 7/6/19
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
, please contact their local health departments.
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
Flea-borne Typhus Frequently Asked Questions
Flea-borne Typhus: Protect Yourself, Protect Your Neighbors
CDC Fact Sheet - Flea-borne Typhus: What you need to know
by Year, Los Angeles County 2001-2014
Angeles County: Annual Morbidity Reports (2001-2016)
LAC: Reported Cases of Selected
Cases of Selected Diseases (2005-2010)
LAC: Reported Cases of
Selected Diseases (1999-2004)
ACDC: A Manual of Department Rules, Regulations and Control
Typhus Cases, LAC Map: 2014
Typhus Cases, LAC Map: 2000-11
Typhus and Other Non-Spotted Fever Rickettsioses Case Report: CDPH
Typhus: An Unrecognized Suburban Vectorborne Disease, Civen, Rachel,
and Ngo, Van; Clinical Infections Diseases 2008;46:913-8
Neighborhood Outbreak of Murine Typhus - South Pasadena, May 2005
(2005 Special Study)
CDPH: Flea-borne Typhus