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Flee Fleas, Please

Bloodsucking pests have ticket to ride (you)

(HealthDayNews) --Fleas and ticks transmit diseases to people as well as pets.

Lyme disease is by far the most prevalent tick-borne disease in humans in the United States, with 8,257 and 13,083 cases -- mostly in the northeast and north central regions -- in 1993 and '94, successively.

Symptoms include fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and a red, circular skin rash.

The next most prevalent tick-borne disease is Rocky Mountain spotted fever, characterized by fever, headache, rash, and nausea or vomiting. It affects more than 500 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Fleas or an infected animal can transmit bubonic plague. Seven cases, including one death, were reported to CDC in 1995, in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Oregon. Another 13 cases, also including one death, were reported in 1994, in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

Early diagnosis and treatment give humans the best chance of recovery from these and other flea- or tick-transmitted diseases.

Consumer News