Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences

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Fleas are not only a nuisance to small animals!

30 January 2018

Fleas are not only a major cause of itching in cats and dogs but can also transmit potentially disease-carrying bacteria in the genera Rickettsia and Bartonella to humans.

Fleas are a common occurrence in stray dogs and cats and a study by Prof. Michael Reichel (Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences) and colleagues from Australia identified the cat flea (C. felis) as the predominant species in Hong Kong.

DNA sequencing revealed that cat fleas in Hong Kong are vectors for Rickettsia felis, which may cause a febrile illness in humans, as well as Bartonella henselae, which is associated with cat scratch fever in humans, and Bartonella clarridgeiae.

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