How would old people fight animals

Fleas in humans: small insects, big impact

Fleas from dogs and cats - a plague that many pet owners have had to deal with. The small bloodsuckers are widespread. What many do not know: Animal fleas can also pose a health hazard to humans. The best protection is to keep pets and household flea free.

Dog and cat fleas are in season all year round. The four-legged friends often catch the pests outside in the open air. And once fleas are in the house, a constant flea cycle begins, in the course of which the various development stages of the fleas spread wherever pets like to be. Then the way to the human is not far.

The most common flea in pets is the cat flea. He ownsno unconditional host specificity and can therefore pass from animals to humans. The real human flea(Pulex irritans) on the other hand has become rare in Central Europe.

Fight fleas effectively - for humans and animals

People are particularly attacked by fleas when there are very many fleas due to a strong infestation. Various pathogens can be transmitted to humans and cause health problems. Experts refer to such cases as zoonoses.

In order to rid pets of the pests and thus prevent fleas from attacking humans, all animals in a household should be treated with suitable antiparasitic drugs. In the event of a flea infestation, the control should take a period of 2 to 4 months.This applies to both dogs and cats.

In order to make the home environment flea-free again, it is usually not enough to take action against the adult fleas that live on the animal. These only make up about 5 percent of the total flea population! The other 95 percent are made up of eggs, larvae and pupae and are located in theEnvironment of the infected pet. Therefore, this must also be treated: especially the favorite places of the four-legged friends such as armchairs, sofa, basket or favorite blanket are affected and should be thoroughly vacuumed or washed. In addition, in the case of severe or recurring infestation, treatment of the surrounding area with a fogger or spray * can be useful.

The plague and the flea

Rat fleas or, according to recent studies, human fleas are responsible for the transmission of the bacterium in the Middle AgesYersinia pestis been responsible. This causes the notorious bubonic plague in humans. As the "Black Death", as the plague was also called, it killed around a third of the European population in the 14th century. Today, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1000 to 2000 cases of plague occur worldwide every year - mainly in Tanzania, Madagascar, parts of the USA and Mongolia. The disease can now be treated with antibiotics.

What diseases can fleas transmit to humans?

When fleas sting people, it usually becomes noticeable through itching and characteristic skin changes: punctiform redness or pustules. Several stitch points are usually in a row and form the so-called "flea stitch chain". In addition to the annoying itchiness, various pathogens can be transmitted to humans when the fleas bite.

Human health risks from cat fleas:

  • Cat fleas, which are also found in dogs, transmit the bacteriumRickettsia felis, which can cause people to have a fever with lumpy skin rashes.
  • Cat fleas can be bacteria of the speciesBartonella henselae transmit and the so-calledCat scratch disease cause in humans. A red-brown papule often forms at the flea bite site, which causes swelling of the lymph nodes. The infection usually subsides without consequences. People with impaired immune systems are particularly at risk.
  • Fleas can affect people with the cucumber seed tapeworm(Dipylidium canium) infect and in rare cases oneDipylidiasis trigger. What is special about this is that the cucumber seed tapeworm is not transmitted via the flea bite, but rather through accidental oral ingestion by fleas that harbor infectious worm stages. Children who are in very close physical contact with their pets are particularly affected. The disease usually remains asymptomatic, with digestive tract disorders occasionally occurring. Symptoms are stronger only in the case of massive infestation. A disease in humans is treated with drugs against worms. In order to avoid infection with cucumber tapeworms, hygiene is important when dealing with pets. On the other hand, consistent flea prophylaxis for dogs and cats is helpful.

Literature / note

  1. Halos et al., Trends in Parasitology, May 2014, Vol. 30, No. 5

* Use biocidal products carefully. Always read the label and product information before use.