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Pasadena Sees Surge in Typhus Fever Cases, Health Officials Warn

Eight residents infected so far this year, surpassing annual average of one to five cases

Published on Thursday, June 13, 2024 | 3:11 pm

The Pasadena Public Health Department has reported an elevated number of typhus fever infections in the city compared to previous years. As of May, eight Pasadena residents have been diagnosed with the disease, which is spread to humans by infected fleas primarily carried by feral cats and opossums, as well as by infected fleas carried by pet dogs and cats allowed outside.

“Generally, one to five cases are reported in Pasadena per year, and most cases occur in the summer or fall,” said Lisa Derderian, Pasadena Public Information Officer. “However, in 2024, eight Pasadena residents have already been reported with typhus fever.”

All reported cases have received treatment and recovered, according to health officials.

Typhus fever, diagnosed by clinical symptoms and a blood test, can cause high fever, chills, headache, and rash in people, but pets and animals do not get sick from the disease.

People who regularly interact with feral cats and opossums are at risk of contracting typhus fever.

In 2023, three deaths from typhus were reported in Los Angeles County, underscoring the potential severity of the illness. Typhus is treatable with antibiotics, and most patients make a full recovery.

To prevent the spread of typhus, health officials recommend reducing yard debris and overgrown vegetation, not leaving pet food outdoors, not providing food or water for wild animals, keeping garbage containers tightly covered, sealing all openings and crawl spaces under homes, and routinely treating pet dogs and cats with flea control medication.

Local health providers are required to report any suspected or confirmed typhus cases in Pasadena residents to the Pasadena Public Health Department within one working day at (626) 744-6089 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or (626) 744-6043 after hours.

For more information on typhus prevention:
San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:

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