Flea-borne (murine) typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia typhi. Flea-borne typhus is spread to people through contact with infected fleas.
In the United States, some fleas carry pathogens that can cause human disease, including: Plague — most commonly transmitted to humans in the United States by infected ground squirrel fleas, Oropsylla montana, and globally by infected Oriental rat fleas, Xenopsylla cheopis.
But, unfortunately, flea bites actually can cause health problems for humans and their pets. Fortunately, it's pretty rare for people to get seriously ill from flea bites, but it's not impossible. Flea bites typically leave little, pinkish-red spots or welts on the skin that may be incredibly itchy.
Symptoms are often flu-like, so you may have a fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment will include antibiotics to kill the bacteria. If a flea bites an animal that has the Rickettsia typhi bacteria, it may spread it to you, causing murine typhus or flea-borne typhus.
There are more than 2,500 flea species in the world and more than 300 species in the United States. Flea bites rarely cause any lasting harm. They cause mild annoyance and irritation for a short period. However, flea bites can be dangerous because they may spread diseases that can be serious or even fatal.
The Dangers Of Fleas
Flea bites in and of themselves are not dangerous. It is what lies on their mouthparts and in their saliva that threatens health. To be more specific, fleas can carry bacteria, pathogens, and other sickness-causing organisms. These organisms are transferred to people and animals that fleas bite.
Can Fleas Live in Your Bed? These pests infest multiple areas in homes, especially mattresses, cushions, and carpeting. Pets transfer fleas to the beds and furniture where they sleep. From here, the insects quickly spread around the house.
Patients develop fever, headache, chills, and weakness and one or more swollen, painful lymph nodes (called buboes). This form usually results from the bite of an infected flea.
Covering skin with long-sleeve clothing and pants will minimize exposure to bites. Flea bites often occur on the lower legs and feet, protect these areas with long socks and pants. Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
In Australia, fleas are not known to transmit any human diseases, although this does occur in other parts of the world.
Cat fleas can survive and reproduce on a diet of human blood alone. However, in normal settings they don't live or breed on humans. Females must feed freely for many hours to be able reproduce on humans.
Septicemic plague is a systemic disease involving infection of the blood, and is most commonly spread by bites from infected fleas. Septicemic plague can cause disseminated intravascular coagulation, and is always fatal when untreated.
People who are very sensitive to flea saliva experience intense itching from flea bites. This rash develops into swollen welts that can last from one to two weeks. In worse cases, flea bites can cause allergic reactions and secondary infections.
Wash all bedding in hot, soapy water
For mild infestations, wash your bed sheets in hot soapy water. The soap will kill fleas, while also destroying their eggs and larvae. Consider vacuuming your mattress as well. Don't forget to do the same to your pet's bed.
In short: using vinegar solution or white vinegar on your pet's fur or in their drinking water will not kill fleas. There is a chance ACV could repel fleas because they don't like the taste, but it is only a mild detergent and is not the best flea remedy.
Although live adult fleas can get into a person's bed by way of their pet, it's more common to find white flea eggs in your bedding. This is because within 24 hours of starting to feed, adult fleas mate and females start laying about 40 to 50 eggs per day, which can easily fall off a pet.
I've Got Fleas – Won't They Just Go Away? Unfortunately, no, they won't. Most fleas can live for between two and three weeks on a host organism, but some flea eggs can survive unhatched for up to an entire year. So even if the fleas you have are dying off, there will be plenty of eggs left to replace them.
Knowing what attracts fleas is critical to knowing how to prevent them if they haven't infested your property as well as knowing how to use the attractants to find and treat for them if they have. Fleas are attracted to light, movement, heat, and CO2 because these elements help them find suitable hosts to feed on.
Fleas are bad for your house and your health
Fleas can be horrible for your health, as a flea bite on a human or pet can become infected. Fleas also sometimes carry diseases such as flea-borne spotted fever, plague, typhus, and cat scratch fever.
The most obvious is if your dog is itching and scratching more than normal. You might also see tiny black specks (called flea dirt) in his fur or bedding. Flea dirt can turn a dark red-brown color when sprinkled with a little water. Running a flea comb through your dog's fur can also reveal fleas.
Flea bites result in red spots surrounded by reddened haloes. They are extremely itchy and cause great discomfort. Fleas often target the legs and feet of human victims and may infest the entire bodies of domestic house pets. Many wildlife species carry fleas as well.
A flea bite may also become infected. If the affected person has swollen glands, extreme pain around the bite, or excessive redness, they should speak with a doctor. In some cases, fleas carry diseases that can be transmitted through bites, such as flea-borne spotted fever, plague, typhus, and cat scratch fever.
In other words, different skin reactions, as well as the levels of gases, differs between humans depending on their genes. For example, some people may produce more carbon dioxide than others from their skin reactions, which is a common attractant to various blood-sucking insects and pests, such as fleas.