You've Got What?
How infectious diseases are spread and simple and practical advice for preventing the spread of infection in the home and community
Fleas are wingless biting insects which are common pests on domestic cats and dogs, as well as other animals.
Fleas from dogs, cats, rats and mice very rarely spread diseases such as plague, typhus and tapeworms to humans. They are, however, predominantly considered annoying to both people and pets.
Fleas are hatched from eggs which are laid in an animal's fur by an adult flea. The eggs fall from the pet and land on surfaces like bedding, carpeting or the soil in the animal’s environment. The eggs hatch into a larva, which then changes into another form called a pupa, and eventually these turn into adults. The time for this process varies depending on a number of factors, and in cool temperatures can take up to a year. Fleas tend to be more common during the warmer seasons.
Flea bites commonly cause skin irritation with itching. Some people and pets suffer from flea bite allergy, with intense itching, hair loss, reddening of the skin and sometimes infection.
Only adult fleas bite humans.
Diagnosis is made by identifying the fleas and/or their eggs.
There are a number of simple treatments for itch available from a doctor and pharmacist.
For further advice on flea management contact the environmental health officer at your local council, or a commercial pest control company.