Rare Flea Disease Hospitalizes 8 in California

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Health officials say eight people in Long Beach who contracted a rare form of typhus spread by fleas were each hospitalized for at least 24 hours, but all have recovered.

John Holguin, epidemiologist with the city's Department of Health, says the patients' ages ranged from less than 1 year old to 59 years old. Five were male.

Four cases were diagnosed in July and August and four more were diagnosed in September.

Murine typhus is spread by fleas that have hosted on infected cats, opossums, raccoons, rats and other rodents. It is not spread person-to-person.

Common symptoms include high fever, severe headaches, body aches and rash. The disease is treatable with antibiotics and rarely causes death.