An outbreak of flea-borne typhus has hit downtown Los Angeles, the county Department of Public Health said Thursday.
Health officials say they are investigating several cases of flea-borne typhus, a disease that infected fleas can spread to humans. While the fleas can come from cats, rats, and opossums, pets and animals do not get sick from typhus.
In people, however, typhus can cause high fever, chills, headache, and rash. It is not transmitted from person to person and can be treated with antibiotics.
“Although typhus normally occurs throughout L.A. County, we are observing several cases in the downtown Los Angeles area,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said in a statement. “We encourage pet owners to practice safe flea control and encourage all cities in the county to ensure maintenance of their trash clean-up and rodent control activities.”
Typhus can spread in areas where there is an accumulation of trash that attracts wild animals like feral cats, rats and opossums.
To help prevent typhus, the department recommended that residents:
— Practice safe flea control.
— Use flea control products on pets.
— When outside, wear pants tucked into socks or boots when outside. Spray insect repellent with DEET on socks and pant cuffs.
— Avoid being near wild or stray animals.
— Never feed or touch wild animals, especially opossums, rats and stray or feral cats.
— Store trash in cans with secure lids to avoid attracting animals.
— Clear areas where rats and stray animals sleep, hide or find food, such as crawl spaces, attics or under decks, and wear gloves and a mask when clearing these areas.
University of California researchers are feeding seaweed to dairy cows in an attempt to make cattle more climate-friendly.
UC Davis is studying whether adding small amounts of seaweed to cattle feed can help reduce their emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s released when cattle burp, pass gas or make manure.
In a study this past spring, researchers found methane emissions were reduced by more than 30 percent in a dozen Holstein cows that ate the ocean algae, which was mixed into their feed and sweetened with molasses to disguise the salty taste, reports the Sacramento Bee.
“I was extremely surprised when I saw the results,” said Ermias Kebreab, the UC Davis animal scientist who led the study. “I wasn’t expecting it to be that dramatic with a small amount of seaweed.”
Kebreab says his team plans to conduct a six-month study of a seaweed-infused diet in beef cattle starting in October.
More studies will be needed to determine its safety and efficacy, and seaweed growers would have to ramp up production to make it an economical option for farmers.
Dairy farms and other livestock operations are major sources of methane, a heat-trapping gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Researchers worldwide have searched for ways to reduce cattle emissions with various food additives such as garlic, oregano, cinnamon and even curry — with mixed results.
If successful, adding seaweed to cattle feed could help California dairy farms comply with a state law requiring livestock operators to cut emissions by 40 percent from 2013 levels by 2030.
“If we can reduce methane on the dairy farm through manipulation of the diet, then it’s a win for consumers because it reduces the carbon footprint, and it’s for dairy farmers because it increases their feed efficiency,” said Michael Hutjens, an animal scientist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
October 5th, 2018