Typhus: A Rare but Serious Threat, Part 1
You probably have heard of typhus during one of your boring High School history classes when the teacher said some important person died of typhus. But if you are like most Americans you didn’t pay much attention. Typhus was just one of those mysterious diseases that were around during primitive times or in third world countries.
For the most part, that thinking is true. However, you as a wildlife control operator (WCO) are not an ordinary American. You come into direct contact with wildlife and wildlife contaminated areas on a daily basis. So you need to be aware of this particular infection.
Typhus is one of a number of diseases classified under the heading rickettsial infections. Rickettsial diseases a little strange because they exhibit characteristics of both bacteria and viruses. Rocky Mountain Spotted fever is just of the many kinds of Rickettsial infections. Rickettsial infections are vectored primarily by insects such as ticks, fleas, and lice.
Though rickettsial infections fall into three main classes, Spotted fever group, Other rickettsioses, and Typhus. We will focus on only the Typhus forms. Typhus has two strains, epidemic or sylvatic typhus and murine or endemic typhus. Though carrying the name typhus, Scrub typhus is a sub-group. Since Scrub typhus is found primarily in the Japan, the eastern Pacific rim, and as far inland as Afghanistan, it is not a real concern for American readers.
In the next post, I’ll discuss the various types of typhus.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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