Texas sees growing number of typhus cases

HOUSTON (AP) — Texas is seeing a growing number of cases of typhus, a disease that was thought to be almost eradicated in the U.S.

Texas Department of State Health Services data show there were more than 360 typhus cases in the state last year, compared to 30 cases in 2003.

The Houston Chronicle reports that a majority of the cases occurred in the southern portion of the state.

The potentially fatal disease is transmitted by fleas that are mostly carried by opossums and other backyard animals.

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The disease is often difficult to diagnose because it can be confused with other viral ailments. Symptoms include headaches, chills and a rash.

Typhus was common in the U.S. through the 1940s, there were less than 100 cases reported nationwide by the mid-1950s.