Date Posted: April 20, 2020
Fleas have been around for a very long time. Many scientists believe they've been around longer than we have. In their long history upon this Earth, they've been involved in some of the worst pandemics, including the bubonic plague pandemic that ravaged England in the middle of the 14th century. Does this surprise you? Did you think rats were to blame for the Black Plague? Scientists say that those rodents couldn't have done it on their own. They needed an accomplice because the bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis, is not just deadly to humans; it kills rats as well. In modern times, one of the warning signs of bubonic plague is the appearance of many dead rodents on a property. If you ever see dead rodents lying around, you should immediately contact the state health department. Fortunately, this is rare in the United States. What isn't rare are several other illnesses that can be caused by exposure to fleas. Let's take a look at a few.
There are 22 named species of Bartonella bacterium. One of them is the cause of cat scratch disease, which impacts more than 12,000 Americans every year, and leads to more than 500 hospitalizations. Cat owners need to be aware of this disease because it isn't just spread to humans by bites from fleas. It can be passed to humans when cat saliva gets into the eye, mouth, or an open wound. And, as the name cat scratch disease implies, you can get this disease by being scratched (or bitten) by a cat. It is estimated that 40 percent of cats will carry a Bartonella bacterium at least once in their lives. Fortunately, for cats, this bacteria causes few or no symptoms, and does not require a visit to the veterinarian.
Another common flea-borne illness that impacts humans is Murine typhus. This is not contracted from a flea bite or from a cat bite. Murine typhus is transmitted when flea dirt (flea feces) is deposited on open wounds. That means you can get this disease without ever being bitten by a flea. If you become sick with this disease, you can expect it to come with flu-like symptoms and a rash. Severe cases of Murine typhus have led to damage of internal organs.
These parasitic worms can impact dogs, cats, and people. But it is uncommon for people to get tapeworms from fleas. Tapeworms get into the intestinal tracts of animals when fleas are consumed. Dogs accidentally consume them when they chew to get fleas off. Cats consume them when they groom themselves. Humans can accidentally consume them if a flea jumps into their food.
Fleas And Pets
A flea will not take a human as a host. They will bite, get a blood meal, and drop off a human. This is not the case with dogs and cats. Fleas get onto furry animals and stay, drawing several blood meals. This can lead to many problems. Two of the most common are flea allergy dermatitis and anemia. Your pet can also contract illnesses, such as tularemia.
Not Just Annoying
While it is certainly annoying when fleas get into homes in Southern Maine, there are many health risks they can bring in with them. It is important that you are aware of them so that you can respond appropriately when fleas, or flea bites, begin to appear. If you need assistance with eliminating fleas from your home, remember that the team at Big Blue Bug Solutions is standing by to assist you with all of your pest control needs. Contact us anytime to schedule service.