SANTA ANA (AP) —  Orange County health officials say an unusually high number of cases of flea-borne typhus have cropped up recently.

Spokeswoman Deanne Thompson says five cases have been reported in the past three months, and the illness was considered rare in Orange County prior to 2006.

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The illness is transmitted by bites from fleas, particularly those from cats, opossums and rodents. Controlling fleas is key to preventing typhus

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache and rash. The illness is treatable with antibiotics.

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