A Texas man lost several limbs to one flea bite over the past month.
There are more than 2,500 species of fleas found worldwide, but only four are known to have serious health effects. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the 2,500 species of fleas, only about 300 are found in the United States
Michael Kohlhoff, 35, was hospitalized with what he thought was the flu, his family said. GoFundMe post. As the days went by, his body became septic, so he was transferred to the intensive care unit.
After Kohlhoff was put on a ventilator, treated with dozens of antibiotics and put on dialysis, doctors spent 24 hours making a diagnosis.
By the end of June 20, he was informed that his family had to say goodbye. About a week and a half later, Kohlhoff was unconscious.
Doctors told the family that Kohlhoff experienced sepsis when he was with him because he contracted typhus. He also had necrotic tissue on his hands and feet from flea bites.
His hands have been amputated down to his forearms, and doctors are still deciding which part of his leg will be saved.
As he underwent multiple surgeries on his road to recovery, his family set up a GoFundMe to help pay for his treatments.
“Michael is physically fit and will undergo an excruciating number of surgeries, treatments and rehabilitation, mainly to get his life back on track. But he won’t have to worry about financial pain,” his mother Jeline Hardaway wrote.
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What are flea-borne diseases?
Kohlhoff’s typhus outbreak came from fleas, family says KSLA12 news.
Kohlhoff didn’t develop any swelling or rash at the flea bite site, which may have helped doctors treat the disease earlier. KSLA12 News report.
Epidemic typhus is transmitted to people by infected animals such as rats, cats and opossums. A bite usually breaks the skin and causes a scar.
Because fleas poop when they eat food. Poop can be rubbed into wounds and other wounds. You can also get typhus if you breathe in infected flea droppings or rub them in your eyes, according to the CDC.
Symptoms usually begin within 2 weeks of first contact. The most common symptoms are:
- fever and chills
- body aches and muscle aches
- loss of appetite
- nausea and vomiting
Epidemic typhus is usually treated with an antibiotic known as doxycycline. People usually recover quickly if they are treated as soon as symptoms begin.
This disease is not contagious from person to person. Epidemic typhus is more common in tropical and subtropical climates.California, Texas and Hawaii have reported cases to the CDC, but the disease is not commonly seen in the US
What you can do to protect yourself from fleas
One of the easiest ways to keep yourself and your family safe from fleas is to keep your pets free from fleas.
According to the CDC, fleas in the United States tend to prey on animals, but they can bite if people share the same space or come in contact with flea-infested animals.
Here are some tips for the CDC to keep you safe.
- use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellent Contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535, lemon eucalyptus oil (OLE), paramenthanediol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA can help search tool Help you find the best product for your needs. Always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under the age of 3.
- Cover skin with long sleeves and pants to minimize exposure to bites. Flea bites often occur on the lower legs and feet. Protect these areas with long socks or pants.
- Treat clothing and equipment with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and camping equipment, and can retain its protective effect after several washes. Alternatively, you can purchase permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Do not feed or pet stray or wild animals.
- Always wear gloves when handling sick or dead animals.
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