Typhus is a bacterial illness transmitted by fleas from wild rats or opossums. Typhus is typically a mild illness, is readily treated with antibiotics, and rarely results in death. Only a dozen or so cases are reported each year in California and most of these are in residents of a few small areas in the Los Angeles basin. Persons living in areas endemic for typhus should avoid contact with opossums and maintain proper flea control on their outdoor pets.
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