A sometimes serious disease spread by fleas is making inroads in Texas, quietly doubling case numbers since 2008, and beginning to encroach on larger metropolitan areas.

While considered a nuisance on cats and dogs, fleas have spread disease around the world, including plague and several types of typhus. In the southwestern US, the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis is a vector for Rickettsia typhi, also known as murine typhus.

Cat fleas become infected with R. typhi by feeding on infected rodents like rats, or opossum, that are reservoir species for the bacteria. Cat fleas then feed on cats… more

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