Are fleas dangerous? It probably goes without saying that for pets, they can be a genuine risk to their health. But are they the same for humans?
If you have ever asked yourself this question and haven’t managed to come up with a satisfying answer, we are here to give you a hand. The useful information you will find below will help you understand whether these pesky critters might affect your health and that of the people you care about.
Not all fleas bite humans
First off, there are several variations when it comes to flea species. Some can be found on cats, others can be found on rats, but you might not be aware of the fact that there are species that actually prefer humans, too. Pulex irritans, for example, enjoys sucking the blood of all types of mammals ranging from chickens and any other kinds of birds to humans, dogs, and anything else.
The Chigoe flea is one of the most dangerous ones of all, and that’s because, unlike other species, it burrows into the host’s skin. It can reside there permanently, and in order to get rid of it, you will have to undergo surgery. It is most common in South America and various tropical regions of Africa.
The rat flea, known as Xenopsylla cheopis, can be found everywhere in the world, including the United States. If you’ve ever heard that the Black Death used to be transmitted by fleas from rats, you know that this is the critter that can be blamed for the epidemic that wiped out thousands of people in the Middle Ages. This type of flea is a vector for a plethora of diseases and getting rid of rats is the right way of going about things if you don’t want to manage any risks.
Cat fleas are also commonly encountered in America and Europe, as well as other parts of the world. While it doesn’t prefer humans as a host, it will feed on their blood in the absence of a feline host.
Are flea bites dangerous for humans?
Of all of the varieties we have tackled earlier on, there are two most dangerous ones. The Chigoe flea, also known as Tunga penetrans is dangerous mostly because of the entrance of the wound. The Oriental rat flea is a carrier of several diseases, so from an epidemiological standpoint, it is very dangerous.
Even the cat flea is a vector of various disease, including typhus. As for Pulex irritans, the one that prefers all types of mammals as hosts and humans, too, it can carry two kinds of parasitic tapeworms.
Getting rid of fleas
One of the simplest ways of handling a flea infestation is to make sure you eliminate both the adults and the larvae from your pets and their environment, too. If you have dogs, you own a home and have a yard, all of these need to be treated for fleas. Comparing products can help you pick the right home and flea yard killer, but be sure to select a safe insecticide for your animals.
Photo by Michael Wunderli