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Beware of fleas

Monday, July 18, 2016 by Nora Ankrum

The city of Austin is recommending that Austinites take preventative measures to avoid contracting murine typhus, a flea-borne disease that is endemic in Travis County and, though treatable with antibiotics, can be life-threatening. So far in Travis County this year, there have been nearly as many reported cases of the disease (14) as there were in 2015 (15). Symptoms can include fever, headache, chills, body aches and a rash, and most of those who have contracted the illness this year have been hospitalized. The city recommends taking the following precautions to avoid disease-carrying fleas: Use flea-control pesticides in the home and yard; administer flea treatments to pets; maintain home repair to prevent rodents, possums, stray cats and other flea-carrying animals from nesting in crawl spaces; wear protective equipment when cleaning nesting areas; and call 311 to enlist the help of Animal Services for capturing or relocating wild or stray animals.

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