Elevated Number of Typhus Fever Infections Reported in Pasadena

PASADENA, Calif.— Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) has received an elevated number of reports of typhus fever infections in Pasadena compared to in other years (as of May), and would like to encourage the community to take action to prevent further infections.

Typhus fever is a disease spread to humans by infected fleas and can cause high fever, chills, headache and rash in people. Generally, one to five cases are reported in Pasadena per year, and most cases occur in the summer or fall. However, in 2024, eight Pasadena residents have already been reported with typhus fever. All reported cases have received treatment and recovered.

In Pasadena, infected fleas are primarily carried by feral cats and opossums. People who regularly interact with these animals are at risk. Pet dogs and cats that are allowed outside can encounter infected fleas and expose their owners to these fleas. Typhus is treatable with antibiotics with good recovery, however three deaths from typhus were reported in 2023 in Los Angeles County. Pets and animals do not get sick from typhus.

There are simple ways to prevent the spread of typhus:

  • Reduce yard debris and trim overgrown vegetation to discourage the presence of wild animals like feral cats and opossums
  • Do not leave pet food outdoors
  • Do not provide food or water for wild animals
  • Keep garbage containers tightly covered
  • Seal all openings and crawl spaces under the home
  • Routinely treat pet dogs and cats with flea control medication

Typhus is diagnosed by clinical symptoms and a blood test. Local health providers are required to report any Pasadena residents with a suspected or confirmed typhus diagnosis within one working day to PPHD at (626) 744-6089 Monday to Friday 8 A.M. - 5 P.M., or (626) 744-6043 after hours.

For more information on typhus prevention:

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