Figure 5-8. Life cycle of the flea.
5-15. FLEA-BORNE DISEASES
Fleas that live on rodents are responsible for the transmission of plague and
endemic (murine) typhus. Rodents, especially rats and ground squirrels, are reservoirs
for these diseases. Fleas become infected with plague organisms when they feed on a
rodent that has plague. Plague is then transmitted to man through the bite of the
infected flea. Endemic typhus is transmitted when flea feces or crushed fleas are
scratched into the skin. This can happen when a person scratches a fleabite.
5-16. FLEA CONTROL
Fleas are controlled by applying insecticides to the animal hosts and to the
a. Dusting of Animal Hosts. Except for cats, rabbits, and other animals that
clean themselves by licking, lindane powder is the insecticide ordinarily used to control
fleas on animals. Animals that lick themselves should be dusted with pyrethrum powder
(not a standard insecticide). Merely dusting the animals, however, will not control the
fleas. Flea eggs and larvae are in the debris about the areas where the animals rest.
Unless these areas are properly treated, reinfestations will take place.