How to prevent typhus, which is on the rise in Houston area / by Michael Graves

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Woodland Heights and surrounding neighborhoods are home to numerous animal species: both family pets and wild critters. The Texas Department of Health Services (TDHS) issued a health alert Nov. 30, 2017, dealing with the connection between animals and people. This alert is relative to increased incidents of flea-borne typhus in the Dallas and Houston areas.

Here is advice from the experts:

  • Don’t  leave pet food out at night
  • Use flea-control products as advised by your veterinarian
  • When handling sick or dead animals, wear gloves

Flea-borne typhus is rarely fatal; however, it can be lethal. “Since 2003, eight deaths have been attributed to flea-borne typhus infection in Texas. When left untreated, severe illness can cause damage to one or more organs, including the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. ... Prompt antibiotic treatment is recommended; treatment should not be delayed pending diagnostic tests,” warns TDHS.

Typhus is easily treated in the early stages. People of all ages can be infected, but over 25 percent of cases occur among those between the ages 6 and 15.

For more information (it’s very clinical), visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/news/releases/2017/HealthAlert-11302017.aspx