UCR Veterinary Entomology

Scientists Suggest Re-Thinking Which Flea-Borne Bacterium Causes Fevers in Humans

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Scientists Suggest Re-Thinking Which Flea-Borne Bacterium Causes Fevers in Humans

By Alec Gerry | November 14, 2016

entomology today

In Southern California over the past five years, there have been nearly 500 cases of flea-borne rickettsioses, more commonly known as flea-borne typhus. Rickettsia felis has become the presumed bacterium causing the fevers, but scientists from the California Department of Public Health think the presumption might be unfounded. Instead, in an article recently published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, they propose that a different bacterium might be the culprit: Rickettsia typhi.

The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is considered the main vector of both species of bacteria, R. felis and R. typhi, to humans in suburban communities of Texas and California. This flea is common throughout the United States and is frequently infected with R. felis. Due to its prevalence and the common interactions between cats and humans, as well as some reports implicating it as a human pathogen, R. felis has been the presumed bacterium causing illness in humans.

Read more:  Flea-borne Typhus



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