Historically, fleas have been involved in devastating epidemics of plague throughout the world. Today in the U. S., fleas primarily are annoying biting pests of pets and people. The most common species is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. However, other species of fleas that are parasites of rodents are involved in the transmission of plague and murine typhus, both of which occur in the southwestern U. S. You are encouraged to learn more about the biology of fleas, especially the cat flea, so that you can make more informed decisions about health risks to you and your pets, how to avoid being bitten, how to prevent or suppress infestations, and whether flea control is warranted in and around your residence.
Catherine A. Hill; John F. MacDonald;