Understanding Fleas, The Diseases They Carry, And Their Effect On Humans

Most people see fleas as a pet problem. After all, fleas appear on your pets first. This is mainly because pets tend to wander into areas where fleas are prevalent. The good news is that it’s more than just pet curiosity. Fleas are attracted to pets because they have fur. This gives them the secrecy they need to reproduce safely. As humans have very little hair they are not as an attractive host.

However, if your pet has fleas then you’ll probably have an infestation at home and you should call the local exterminators. The quicker the problem is eradicated the better. 

The Flea

Fleas are small, approximately 3mm long and have very narrow bodies, this allows them to move easily under the fur of your pet. Their strong claws help them to stay attached to the skin while their mouths are perfectly adapted to latching on and sucking blood from your pet. 

Of course, you probably already know that fleas can jump exceptionally high in relation to their size. They are known to jump 150 times their own height, which’s about eight inches from the ground. 

The Risk To Humans

Diseases Carried By Fleas1

Fleas don’t generally bite humans as your pets are much better hosts. However, once you start treating your pet for fleas the fleas need to escape. In addition, flea eggs located in your home will hatch and the fleas will be unable to use your pet as a host. In order to survive, they will use a different source of blood, that’s likely to be human.

Fleabites tend to be below the knee although they can be higher if you sit in an infested area. This is why you should click here and find out more about flea eradication from the professionals before you start treating your pet.

Your pet and home need to be treated together.

Diseases Carried By Fleas

The Risk To Humans

Fleas can carry several diseases which can be passed to your pets and you. Some of the most common are:

  • Plague

The plague wiped out millions of people in the 14th century. It was virtually unstoppable and rats largely get the blame for carrying the bacteria. However, they did have assistance. Fleas also carried the plague and infected multiple people. 

They are still capable of carrying the bacteria today and there are periodic cases of plague following flea bites. 

  • Typhus

Typhus can be transferred to you via cat fleas which are already carrying the disease. Once you’ve been bitten the bite creates an open wound which can quickly become infected causing issues. If the flea was carrying the typhus bacteria you’ll need medical treatment. 

  • Cat Scratch Disease

This is usually passed to humans by infected cats when they scratch you and leave some of the bacteria in your skin. They contract the disease from fleas. 

There are other diseases but, thankfully, cases of flea disease are rare. Of course, everyone should be aware of tapeworm and how easily this can be spread from cats to people or by swallowing an infected flea, which is easier to do accidentally than you may think.

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