Typhus prevention is directly related to flea control. The Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit monitors the incidence of confirmed and probable typhus cases reported to the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department and issues periodic updates of the status of the investigations.

blow-up picture of a fleaTyphus Update

Typhus Data Profile

Murine or flea-borne typhus is endemic (regularly found) in Travis County.  Fever, headache and a rash are common symptoms.  Cases can occur in April through July.

What is Typhus?

Murine typhus, also called fleaborne or endemic typhus, is caused by bacteria from a flea. It is not spread from person to person; it is spread from an infected flea. Typhus enters the body through the bite wound or from a person scratching the bite area. Fleas are infected from contact with infected animals. Animals that can transmit the disease to fleas are: rats, domestic cats, opossums, raccoons, other small mammals.

The incubation period for murine typhus is 6 to 14 days. Symptoms of the disease include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches, and possibly a rash that starts on the trunk of your body and spreads to your arms and legs. If left untreated, the disease may last for several months. If you suspect that you have murine typhus, see a doctor as soon as possible. If you wait too long to see a doctor, you may have to be hospitalized. Murine typhus is easily treated with certain antibiotics. Once you recover, you will not get it again.

What to Do

  • Control flea infestation.
  • Eliminate food sources and other areas that may harbor wild animals.
  • Take personal precautions. Limit your exposure by avoiding areas that may be infested with fleas.

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