Flea Transmitted Diseases

A big motivating factor for getting rid of fleas as fast as possible is the potential of flea transmitted diseases. There are a variety of diseases that can affect both humans and pets. While they are not extremely common, it is still something you should be worried about.

Here we will go over some of the common diseases that fleas can pass on when they bite. Included will be the disease name, who it affects, the symptoms, and how to treat it.

flea tapewormTapeworm

Tapeworms are parasitic worms that will attach themselves to the intestines of their host. They can live for years, growing to lengths up to 12 feet long. Often they will go undetected for a quite a long time. Tapeworms are comprised of segments, and every once in a while these segments will be present in stool.

How it is Transmitted
Tapeworms are not transmitted through flea bites, so do not worry about that. The only way you or your pets can get tapeworms from fleas is if you accidentally swallow a tapeworm infested flea.

What happens is flea larvae will sometimes feed on tapeworm eggs. Then, as the flea grows, so does the tapeworm. Cats and dogs will then sometimes ingest an infected flea when grooming the itchy fleas on their bodies. Although rare, humans can also get infected if they ingest a tapeworm infected flea.

Signs & Symptoms
As mentioned, tapeworms will often go undetected for long periods of time. Checking your stool for tapeworm segments is important for detection. Intestinal infections will sometimes have symptoms of loss of appetite, diarrhea, weakness, nausea, and weight loss.

Treatment
There are oral medications you can take to quickly kill adult tapeworms. See your doctor right away once you have detected a tapeworm in your system. The hardest part about treating a tapeworm is detecting it.

Prevention
To prevent your pets from getting tapeworms take measures to get rid of the fleas on their bodies. Read about different flea treatments for dogs and cats. If you have fleas biting you, or come across fleas in the environment, do not crush them with your fingers.

flea allergyFlea Allergy

Flea allergy dermatitis is very common for dogs and cats, but it can also affect people. It is a skin reaction that occurs from flea bites.

How it is Transmitted
Flea allergy dermatitis is a skin reaction that occurs after fleas inject their saliva into a host. Some dogs, cats, and people are allergic to this saliva. Their bodies react by sending out too many histamines to treat the intrusion.

Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom will by itchy flea bites, that can turn into large rashes, papules, and pustules. Hair loss is very common for cats and dogs. This is because they will be excessively scratching and grooming their fur.

Treatment
The allergic reactions will go away on their own once fleas are gone. So the best treatment method is to get rid of fleas in your house. Good control methods include flea traps, flea shampoos, and sprays.

Prevention
Prevention and treatment are the same in this case.

endemic typhus flea diseaseEndemic Typhus

Typhus is a bacterial disease. Although very rare, it is still found in the United States, specifically in the gulf coastal area or in southwestern states. This disease is most common in areas that have lot of small animals or rodents.

How it is Transmitted
Endemic typhus cannot be transmitted from human to human. Instead it is transmitted by fleas feeding on infected rats. Then the infected flea bites a human, and the bacteria is passed on. The common rat is the most frequent originator of the disease. This disease can also be spread by contacting rat feces.

Signs and Symptoms
It will take around 12 days of exposure before symptoms show. Symptoms include low-grade fevers, mild headaches, tiredness, muscle aches and joint pain. Also a periodic rash occurs for some people.

Treatment
The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

Prevention
There are no vaccines. Keeping your home and pets flea-free is the best thing to do.

cat scratch fever flea diseaseCat Scratch Fever

Cat scratch fever is another bacterial infection. This most commonly effects cats, but humans can also contract the disease.

How it is Transmitted
Cat scratch disease is commonly transmitted between cats by fleas. There is no evidence that the bacteria infection can be transmitted from fleas to humans. Cats however, can spread this disease to humans. This happens when an infected cat bites, scratches, or licks a person. Children under the age of 10 are more likely to contract the infection, as they tend to play rougher with kittens. Kittens are more prone to carry the bacteria than adult cats.

Signs and Symptoms
This is a typically a very mild illness. The symptoms of cat scratch fever start out as a small blister or red bump. It often is mistaken for a insect or spider bite. There is usually no pain associated with the lesion. After a few weeks the lymph nodes around the area can begin to swell up. Some people might experience a headache, fatigue, or a fever.

Treatment
Since this disease is mild, it will not usually require treatment. Sometimes antibiotics are administered in severe circumstances though.

Prevention
To prevent getting this disease, avoid getting bitten or scratched by cats.

tularemia flea diseaseTularemia

Tularemia, also called rabbit fever, is a bacterial disease that can affect dogs, cats, and people. This is a very rare disease.

How it is Transmitted
Tularemia is most commonly transmitted through ticks, fleas, and biting flies. Dogs and cats can also get it eating infected rabbits, rats, and mice. It can also be contracted from eating food or drinking water that is contaminated.

Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms will start showing after around 5 days from exposure. Symptoms include headaches, fever, joint pain, muscle aches, and weakness. In more severe cases symptoms can be skin ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, as well as sore eyes and throat. Many times symptoms are similar to pneumonia.

Treatment
After tularemia has been detected with tests, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Prevention
A vaccine is available and recommended for hunters and outdoorsmen. Other tips include using flea and insect repellents, avoiding contact dead rabbits and rodents, and when eating rabbit meat cook it thoroughly.

bubonic plague fleasBubonic Plague

The bubonic plague, also called the black plague, once demolished human populations in the 14th century. It wiped out between 30 and 60 percent of the European population. The disease is not prevalent any more, but there are still a few cases reported now and again.

How it is Transmitted
Rodents of various types including mice, rats and squirrels would carry plague infected fleas. Then the fleas would bite humans, passing on the illness.

Signs and Symptoms
The infection is known for swelling the lymph glands, which become very painful. The disease causes necrotized tissue, and the dead skin will turn black. Hence the name black death. The children’s song “Ring Around the Rosy” is actually about the illness and the visible symptoms it produces. This is a bacterial disease that killed 2 out of 3 infected humans within only four days.

Treatment
Antibiotics can be used to treat bubonic plague.

Prevention
Use insect repellent, avoid dead animals, and avoid dead rodents.



Related posts:

  1. Flea Allergy Dermatitis
  2. Flea Facts & Information
  3. Flea Life Cycle
  4. What is Flea Dirt?
  5. How To Treat Flea Bites