Published Date: 2012-05-26 12:46:17
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Murine typhus - USA: (TX) fatal
Archive Number: 20120526.1145817
MURINE TYPHUS - USA: (TEXAS) FATAL
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 24 May 2012
Source: kxan.com [edited]
The 1st reports of typhus in Travis County have been confirmed, and one of the people infected has died, officials said. The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department said reports of Typhus seem to be concentrated in the Central and North Central Travis County.
The disease is transferred by bites from fleas and ticks. Dr. Phil Huang of Austin\Travis County Health and Human Services said the community needs to be alert. "This is our 1st death that we've had here, so we're very concerned," Dr.Huang said. Dr. Huang continued, "It's something preventive measures can help reduce peoples exposure to this." Symptoms of typhus [include]: Headaches, high fever, and blotchy rash on chest, arms or legs.
The disease is not spread from person to person. According to health officials, the best way to prevent typhus is safe flea control with pets. Eliminate food sources that might attract animals to your neighborhood. Avoid areas that may be infested by fleas or ticks. If you go for a hike, wear long sleeves and pants. Also use insect repellents containing DEET. If you think you may have typhus, contact your doctor and Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department immediately.
You can contact Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department for more information at (512) 972-5555.
[Byline: Casey James]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
[The following is extracted from ProMED-mail post Murine typhus - USA: (TX) Archive Number: 20110607.1734:
_Rickettsia_ are small obligate intracellular parasites that are maintained in animal and arthropod reservoirs and transmitted by arthropod vectors (ticks, fleas, lice, or mites) to humans. Murine typhus, which occurs throughout the world, is a flea-borne rickettsial disease caused by the _Rickettsia typhi_. Rats are the primary animal reservoir of _R. typhi_; however, other mammals, such as free-ranging cats, dogs, and opossums and their fleas can maintain this microorganism in areas where rats and rat fleas are absent (Azad AF, Radulovic S, Higgins JA, et al: Flea-borne rickettsioses: ecologic considerations. Emerg Infect Dis 1997; 3(3): 319-27; available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627639/).
Humans are usually infected by contact with infected flea feces, either by inoculation into excoriated fleabites, inhalation, or ingestion. Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, vomiting, nausea, myalgias, and rash. The illness usually resolves within 3 weeks, even if untreated. However some patients are sick enough to be hospitalized in an intensive care unit and up to 4 percent of hospitalized patients will die from the infection. Treatment is doxycycline. Prevention is directed at control of flea vectors and animal reservoirs.
Murine typhus occurs in the USA in southern Texas, southern California, and Hawaii. In 2008, 33 laboratory-confirmed cases of murine typhus occurred in Austin, Texas (see ProMED-mail post Murine typhus - USA (04): (TX) 2008-2009 20091120.3995). Illness ranged from mild to severe, with 73 percent of patients requiring hospitalization. Environmental investigation at the time suggested that opossums and domestic animals likely played a role in the maintenance and spread of _R. typhi_. Murine typhus is a reportable condition in Texas, and health-care providers are required to report any suspected cases to the local health department through the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System within one week of detection.
Travis County, with a population of about 1 million people in 2010, is located in south central Texas; it can be seen on the map at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_County,_Texas. Austin is the seat of Travis County and the capital of the state of Texas in the South Central United States. Texas can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at http://healthmap.org/r/00-M The city of Austin was the site of an earlier outbreaks of murine typhus (ProMED-mail post Murine typhus - USA: (TX) 20110607.1734 and Murine typhus - USA (04): (TX) 2008-2009 20091120.3995). - Mod.ML]