“So far this year, we've seen 18 cases as compared to 17 cases for all of 2017,” Director of communications Galveston County Health District Ashley Tompkins said.
Typhus is transmitted through fleas and the fecal droppings they leave. Symptoms usually include fever, headache and rash— sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
Because of the flea connection, people with pets are especially vulnerable.
“These infected fleas are brought in through rodents, wild animals, stray animals, and so when they come into your yard and then your pets go outside and the fleas get on them they then bring those into the home. So you want to make sure you're getting rid of all the fleas that you can both on your pets and in your yard,” Tompkins said.
Officials don't know whether there's a rise in the amount of infections or that a successful awareness campaign is leading to more testing and more confirmed cases.
So you get this nasty bacteria from fleas, but how do you get rid of it?
The Center for Disease Control suggests a round of antibiotics. Patients are usually prescribed Doxycycline and the earlier you treat, the quicker the recovery.
Still, the focus should be on prevention.
“Make sure that you're treating your animals for fleas, so if you have cats and dogs, go to your vet make sure you're on a program to treat them. Also treat your yard,” Tompkins advises.
A little extra effort can help put Typhus back in the history books, where it belongs.