The number of flea-borne typhus cases are up over last year, and local health officials are warning residents to take precautions.
So far this year, 11 cases of the illness have been reported to the Long Beach Health Department, compared to nine for all of last year.
The flea-borne typhus - known as murine typhus - is a disease spread by fleas living on rats and mice, opossums, cats and raccoons, health officials explained.
People get the disease through the bites of infected fleas, adding that it isn't spread from person to person.
The most common symptoms of flea- borne typhus are high fevers, severe headaches, body aches and a rash. The disease is rarely fatal, but people can become sick enough to be hospitalized, health officials said.
Prior to 2006, flea-borne typhus wasn't known to be present in Long Beach.
For more information about flea- borne typhus, contact the Health Department's Epidemiology Program at 562-570-4302, check online at www.longbeach.gov/health.
- Joe Segura