Apparent Recent Extension of Typhus in the United States

View More View Less
  • 1 United States Public Health Service
  • | 2 Division of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

The geographical distribution of endemic (murine) typhus fever has been quite sharply confined to certain areas in the United States (1). The main shipping terminals along the eastern seaboard usually report cases each year, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah. There is, of course, the large southern endemic area of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas, which report about 2000 cases per year. Georgia alone usually accounts for about one-half of the total. Lately Tennessee and California have been reporting an appreciable number of cases yearly. Meleney (2) has carefully brought the data on typhus in this endemic area up to date. He pointed out the relative importance of this disease in individual southern states and also presents data to show its extension in this endemic area. In Maxcy's (3) early studies on the epidemiology of endemic typhus fever he noted that the majority of the cases occurred in urban areas.