Fleas bring bubonic plague to village in Madagascar

In some parts of the world flea control and removal is a matter of life and death

While flea control and flea removal may be important in this part of the world, in Madagascar it's becoming a matter of life and death. A village that was infested with fleas due to the warm, humid weather and prevalence of rats (which carry the infected fleas) recorded 20 deaths in just a week, reported BBC News.

Prisons especially are a hotbed for the spread of the disease, as there are many rats carrying fleas that subsequently transmit the plague to humans. The disease can then spread outside of the prisons through staff, visitors, freed prisoners or simply the rats escaping past the prison walls.

Madagascar had 60 deaths from the plague last year, which is the world's highest recorded number of fatalities as a result of the disease.  

Back in this part of the world, it may not be so likely to see a rapid outbreak of the plague from fleas, but the pests still have their dangers. Fleas host a number of infectious viruses and bacteria. They can transmit the bacteria that result in cat scratch fever, enteroviruses (one of the culprits behind viral meningitis) and tapeworms. In smaller animals, fleas can cause severe anemia due to blood loss. 

Treatment in the home
There are ways to prevent your pet, yourself and your home from becoming infested with fleas. Making sure your home is clean is the first step to ensuring that a flea infestation never gets the best of you. Vacuuming carpets can remove any eggs or larvae that have taken root there. Thoroughly clean or throw out any of your pet's bedding that you suspect may have been exposed to fleas. 

Sometimes it's too late and your home has already become completely infested. In these situations, you should use home products, like carpet powders or home sprays, to kill the fleas and flea eggs. 

Treatment for your pet
Checking your pet for fleas daily is one of the best ways to make sure a flea infestation never gets out of hand. A fine-toothed comb is the perfect tool to check the fur and skin for the tiny pests. 

If your pet does fall victim to an onslaught of fleas, a product like the Hartz® UltraGuard Plus® Flea & Tick Dog Shampoo with Aloe can kill the fleas and protect against reinfestation for up to two weeks. 

This content is provided by the flea treatment experts at Hartz. We offer flea sprays, shampoos and drops to keep your pets safe inside and outside your home.