Texas re­ports uptick in ty­phus cases

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

HOUS­TON — Texas is see­ing a grow­ing num­ber of cases of ty­phus, a dis­ease that was thought to be al­most erad­i­cated in the U.S.

Texas Depart­ment of State Health Ser­vices data show there were more than 360 ty­phus cases in the state last year, com­pared to 30 cases in 2003.

A ma­jor­ity of the cases oc­curred in the south­ern por­tion of the state, ac­cord­ing to news re­ports. More than 40 coun­ties in the state have seen cases of the dis­ease, and peo­ple ages 5 to 19 had the high­est rate of the dis­ease.

“We can now add ty­phus to the grow­ing list of trop­i­cal in­fec­tions strik­ing Texas,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, found­ing dean of the Na­tional School of Trop­i­cal Medicine at Bay­lor and Texas Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal. “Cha­gas, dengue fever, Zika, chikun­gunya and now ty­phus — trop­i­cal dis­eases have be­come the new nor­mal in south and south­east Texas.”

The po­ten­tially fa­tal dis­ease is trans­mit­ted by fleas that are mostly car­ried by opos­sums and other backyard an­i­mals.

The dis­ease is of­ten dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose be­cause it can be con­fused with other vi­ral ailments. Symp­toms in­clude headaches, chills, a rash, achy mus­cles and nau­sea.

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