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Warnings issued after Santa Ana child contracts typhus

May 26, 2012 |  3:33 pm

Orange County health officials are urging residents to take steps to keep their pets, yards and homes free of fleas after a Santa Ana child contracted typhus.

The child was hospitalized late last month and has since recovered, said Nicole Stanfield, spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Orange County Vector Control District officials have been distributing educational materials in the area where the child lives and setting traps for opossums and other animals that may be carrying infected fleas, agency spokesman Jared Dever said.

He said traps would also be set Tuesday at two nearby schools believed to have feral cats on the grounds: Frances E. Willard Intermediate School and El Sol Science and Arts Academy.

Flea-borne typhus is caused by bacteria found in infected fleas and their feces. Symptoms begin one to two weeks after exposure and can include a fever, headache, chills, body pains and rash on the chest, back, arms or legs.

Residents are being advised to treat their pets for fleas, keep their yards clear of heavy undergrowth and other places where animals might hide, pick up fallen fruit and not leave pet food out at night.

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-- Alexandra Zavis

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