Murine Typhus

Murine typhus is classified as a febrile illness that has been eradicated from the United States since the1940s. The vector responsible for its transmission is a flea that infests rats and opossums. The main symptoms are similar to those of other common viral illnesses, including headache, fever, and rash (Doppler & Newton, 2020). After almost eight decades without any registered case of the disease, two people from Galveston, Texas, were diagnosed with murine typhus in April and October 2012. Another new case was reported in the same city in 2013 (Ruiz, Valcin, Keiser, & Blanton, 2020). Ever since, the Health Department of Galveston County has reported cases of the disease in the following four years. The number of cases attained a peak in 2018 with 40 new positive infections scattered throughout eight cities in the county (Ruiz et al., 2020). The rate varied to the maximum of 25%, where the most predominance took place in the months of June and July.

Since the disease is directly associated with the bite of fleas hosted by contaminated opossums and rats, it is more common in populations living in areas where the number of those mammalians is higher. For instance, murine typhus is more prevalent in cities such as Dickinson, Friendswood, Galveston, and Kemah compared to other regions in the county. More particularly, people that are more exposed to the natural habitat of those animals are more vulnerable to contract the disease. Hence, further increases in the number of cases could be avoided by means of ecological policies to preserve the environment occupied by the animals acting as vectors. Moreover, training medical professionals on diagnosis of murine typhus may help in preventing the transmission. Combined environmental and public health measures could address the resurgence of the infection.

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