West Austin Neighborhood Group

Preserving and Protecting West Austin

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    Typhus Information

    July 12th, 2011
    by admin

    Typhus has recently been reported in our area.   As new information is made available, we will post it here.

    Typhus illness has been in the Austin area since 2008. Typhus symptoms are high fever, headache, body aches and pains and, in some cases, a rash. This disease is transmitted from infected fleas and is not spread from person to person. Typhus is treatable with antibiotics and early treatment can lessen the severity of disease. To promote awareness and prevention of typhus, the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department offers the following information and tips:
    • Use effective and safe flea control measures to ensure your pets, yard and home is flea free.
    • Eliminate food sources that might attract wild animals to your neighborhood.
    • Keep your yard clear of heavy undergrowth and debris that might serve as a nesting place for animals.
    • Limit your exposure by avoiding places that may be infested with ticks/fleas and wear heavy clothing (long sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes)
    • Use insect repellants containing DEET.
    More information on typhus can be found on the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department’s website at http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/health/healthcare_epi_typhus.htm

    Typhus Update, Travis County

    June 29, 2011

    Note: All 2011 data is preliminary and is subject to change until it is finalized in March 2012.

    Typhus has been reported in the Austin/Travis County area for the past several years. As of June 29, 2011, nineteen total cases have been reported in 2011 in Travis County. Thus far in 2011, cases of Typhus seem to be clustering in central Travis County in the following zip codes: 78702, 78703, 78704, 78705, 78722, 78727, 78751, 78753 and 78756. The highest concentrations of reported cases are in 78703 and 78751.

    Cases seem to be reported most frequently from May through September. However, A/TCHHSD receives reports throughout the year and throughout Travis County. The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department continues to monitor all reports of Typhus.

    For more info: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/murine_typhus/

    I spoke with Carole Barasch with ATCHHD.  The health department maps by zip code although they are alert to clusters in those zip codes.  Their aim is to educate residents to manage their property to eliminate a hospitable environment for urban wildlife.

    The county vector program does not handle individual residences.  People are advised of steps to take if they have a rodent infestation and to call a pest control company if they need more help.

    Some items of interest –

    –          The fleas that carry typhus are infected from an infected animal

    –          Infected fleas then carry it to other animals and humans

    –          The lifespan of a flea is one year so they have the potential to infect for a long time

    –          There is no particular dormancy – somewhere in the chain something has the disease and is capable of giving it to a flea the main transmitter

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