Apr 29, 2019 • Longeviti

Some of Our Major Cities are Experiencing Threats to Public Health Normally Associated with the Developing World

The US recently suffered through a difficult flu season and continues to battle a serious Measles outbreak.

Several of our major cities have also seen an increase in threats to public health, normally associated with the less developed world. The increased incidence of these illnesses including Typhus and Hepatitis A is tightly correlated with the rise in the homeless population.


“Homelessness, crowded housing, poor hygiene, poor toiletry habits” all make it more likely to get typhus, says Aaron Glatt, MD, chairman of medicine and hospital epidemiologist for South Nassau Communities Hospital.

  • Typhus is caused by rickettsial bacteria. Infected fleas, ticks, lice, transmit the disease to other animals and humans. Failing to treat typhus can be deadly.








Doctors often misdiagnose people with murine typhus (type commonly seen in the US) as suffering from a viral illness rather than one carried by bacteria because:

  • most people who get the disease, don’t realize an infected flea has bitten them
  • the symptoms are very similar to other infectious diseases like dengue and malaria

Fortunately, blood tests and skin biopsies can help confirm the diagnosis.

Typically, 14 days pass from the time of the “bite” to the onset of symptoms, which can appear suddenly. These include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Lethargy
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Less common symptoms: dry cough, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Typhus can also lead to other life-threatening conditions requiring additional medical intervention and treatments.

What you need to know:

To avoid Typhus, avoid both the areas known to be in the grip of an outbreak and any proximity to the pests that carry the illness. If that’s not possible, consider wearing insect repellents with Deet and Permethrin to ward off the pests carrying the disease.

  • Typhus can be fatal without treatment
  • There is no vaccine currently available to the general public
  • Antibiotics have proven largely successful for the treatment of Typhus

Immediate treatment is vital. See your Longeviti Health physician if you or your loved ones are experiencing any of the symptoms of Typhus.


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