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Santa Ana Officials Alert Public That Person Has Contracted Typhus

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Juan_Fernandez_08062010 Juan Fernandez
Juan Fernandez joined CBS 2 News as a general assignment reporter in...
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SANTA ANA (CBS) —  A Santa Ana resident has contracted typhus, prompting city officials to alert the community.

It is the first known case of typhus reported in Santa Ana, according to Juan Fernandez, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9.

Federal laws regarding privacy prevent city officials from releasing any information about the person who has typhus, but they did say the person lives near Broadway and Washington Avenue.

Orange County Vector Control officials have been passing out flyers to residents in the area to help them avoid getting the disease, which primarily is transmitted by fleas, city spokesman Jose Gonzalez said.

“The issue here is the person lives in close proximity to two schools and because there are feral cats on the school grounds,” Gonzalez said.

Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said vector control officials will lay traps on Tuesday at Frances E. Willard Intermediate School in the 1300 block of North Ross Street and El Sol Science and Arts Academy in the 1000 block of North Broadway.

Michael Bishop, deputy school superintendent, told Fernandez that as far as classes go, it should be business as usual. “This won’t interfere with the instructional process.”

“We’re trying to be proactive,” Bertagna said, adding the workers will be wearing hazard suits as a precaution and that residents should not be alarmed.

Vector control officials have set multiple traps in the area so far and have caught possums, but none of the feral cats known to frequent the area, Gonzalez said.

If the cats are caught they will be sedated and then euthanized.

City officials advised residents to treat their pets with flea- prevention medication and eliminate places where wild animals can find shelter and any food sources.

Officer Sondra Berg said parents definitely need to be concerned about their children and where they play. “Especially if their children play where where might be a lot of stray cats in the area. They need to be careful their kids are not coming in contact with those cats.”

Symptoms usually surface a week or two weeks after exposure but include high fever, headaches, chills, body aches and pains and a rash on the chest, back or legs.

There have been 46 cases of typhus in Orange County since 2006, reports Fernandez.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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