The City of Santa Ana concerned about Typhus infection in Stray Cats

cat - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - Concerns of a flea-born Typhus infection have spurred Santa Ana officials to trap and test stray cats near schools to prevent the spread to humans. This occurred after a Santa Ana resident tested positive for Typhus.

On Tuesday, animal service officers set traps at Frances E. Willard Intermediate School and El Sol Science and Arts Academy to catch the stray cats. The traps were provided by O.C. Vector Control and they have been out in the neighborhoods informing residents of the potential typhus problem. The city officials are testing the fleas found on the cats for typhus.

Alley Cat Allies, an advocacy group for the protection and humane treatment of cats, has voiced their concerns on how the City of Santa Ana is handling this infestation. They say that the wild cats tend to stay away from humans and should not be trapped and killed. Instead of focusing on the cats, the fleas should be looked at as the problem because they can move onto family pets that can make it easier to transmit the disease to humans. Instead of trapping the animals, the group suggests that the city should try to prevent flea infestations on domesticated animals and in places where humans live.

Epidemiologist Deborah L. Ackerman, M.S., Ph.D. said that outbreaks of typhus from fleas are rare. In a previous outbreak in California, the infected fleas were found on pet cats, and in Texas, there was an outbreak where the infected fleas were found on dogs.

As a precaution, residents in Santa Ana are asked to not feed stray animals near their home. They should not leave out food for their pets because it also attracts stray animals.
Infected fleas and their feces transmit endemic typhus and murine typhus. The infection can take between 5 - 14 days to show symptoms. The infected person could have symptoms of a high fever, headaches, chills, body aches, and a rash can appear on the arms, legs, chest, and back.

The local NBC news TV station reported that a child living near Broadway and Washington Avenue had become infected from typhus last month. The child was reported to have been hospitalized from the infection but has since recovered.

The infection needs to be treated with antibiotic medication. If it is not treated, the infection could become deadly.

By: Dave Reddy

ref: 1,2, 3, 4,5, 6

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