Typhus on Rise in Texas, Say Disease Experts

Merrill Hope – August 9, 2017

Typhus, a flea-borne infectious disease thought to be all but eradicated in the United States, appears to be on the rise in Texas, say tropical disease experts.

A recent study in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) journal Emerging Infectious Diseases tracked Texas typhus cases over a decade, revealing the number of diagnosed patients rose from 27 in 2003 to 222 in 2013. Geographically, it spread from nine to 41 counties, although the highest incidence of bacterial infection still remains in south Texas where typhus is more prevalent. Between 2003 and 2013, the state reported 1,762 cases.

Dr. Kristy Murray, an associate professor in pediatrics and assistant dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, conducted the study with colleagues and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).