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Flea Diseases in People

Diseases transmitted by fleas:

Bubonic plague

The most well-known flea transmitted disease is the Bubonic plague. In the 14th century, the bubonic plague (known as the “Black Death”) became an epidemic and killed 25 million people - up to 50% of the European population.

Murine typhus

This is a rare disease in North America, but a few cases of Murine Typhus are reported each year and mostly originating in southwestern states. This disease occurs in rat-infested areas, where fleas become infected by rats.


This disease is rarely diagnosed in North America but due to international travel originating from tropical regions, like the West Indies, Caribbean, and Central America, where it is indigenous, it is worth knowing about this illness.


Tularemia is a potentially serious illness that occurs naturally in North America. It is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis and found in animals like rodents. It can be transferred to humans by an infected flea or tick bite.

Flea associated allergies

Flea saliva can cause skin dermatitis in humans, which usually appears on patches of skin as itchy bumps or a rash.

Fleas as parasite vectors

Fleas are known to transmit parasites, such as tapeworm, which primarily affect pets. Adult fleas infected with tapeworm may be accidentally ingested by cats or dogs during grooming.

Your local veterinarian will be able to treat your animal for tapeworms and fleas.

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