2008 Murine Typhus Outbreak in Texas Atypical

ATLANTA, Nov. 19 (UPI) — An outbreak of murine typhus was confirmed in Travis County, Texas, last year, federal health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said Thursday although murine typhus, a flea-borne disease often transmitted to humans through contact with rats, is endemic in southern Texas, only two cases had been reported in central Texas in the past 10 years.

This central Texas outbreak had 33 confirmed cases, 73 percent of whom were hospitalized, and was comparable to previous outbreaks of murine typhus, the report said.

However, the suspected vector — cat flea — and reservoir — an opossum — were atypical for a suburban setting, health officials said.

Clinicians and the public should be aware of the symptoms, appropriate treatment and prevention measures, and the importance of promptly notifying local or state health officials of suspected cases of murine typhus, health officials said.

Murine typhus symptoms include: abdominal pain, backache, dull red rash that begins on the middle of the body and spreads, extremely high fever of 105-106 degrees Fahrenheit, hacking, dry cough, headache, joint pain, nausea and vomiting.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Human Health & Wellness
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