By accidentally detecting flea bites on your feet, few people today wonder if fleas are dangerous to humans in general. It would seem that such a tiny creature, hardly reaching a length of a couple of millimeters - can it seriously harm its bite, like a needle prick? Therefore, most bitten simply with annoying rubs red dots and soon forgets about the event.
And yet fleas are dangerous to humans, and physicians and parasitologists consider them to be almost the most dangerous ectoparasites in general. Why? Let's understand ...
On a note
Ectoparasites are parasites that attack and harm a person from the outside, on the skin, hair, in general - parasitize the outer shells of the body. In addition to fleas, for example, they include bugs, lice, ticks, mosquitoes and flies.
In contrast, endoparasites are parasites that live inside our body - helminths, protozoa, less often - larvae of some insects.
Flea bites, their signs, consequences and body reaction
In the first place, fleas are harmful to humans because their bites cause a sharp response from the body. Of course, one or two bites may be unnoticeable, but with a large number or regular attacks, the body responds to them, and sometimes very violently, namely:
- rashes near the bites
- increased lymph nodes
- an allergic reaction up to serious edema and an increase in body temperature.
And this despite the fact that the bites themselves itch, itch and can hurt. When combing, it is possible additional damage to the affected areas, the blood can infect the infection, resulting in small red dots puffing up, causing local inflammation. In severely neglected conditions, for example, in vagrants, such pustular inflammation can develop into ulcers and pyoderma.
Flea bites are painful in themselves - these parasites do not at all ages produce an enzyme responsible for anesthetizing the victim and masking bites. Therefore, some fleas bite very painfully, from which children suffer particularly badly, which insects do not allow to sleep.
With such anxiety and even the development of phobia, fleas are harmful to humans when they have irregular meetings with them.
But when living in a highly infested indoor flea, a person is bitten regularly, every day. As practice shows, in this case, in response to constant irritation of the skin in places of bites, people often develop neuralgia and even nervous disorders.
"During the journey through Corsica for several nights we spent the night at a hospitable owner of a fishing boat, whose husband, in fact, ordered fishing excursions. The place is delightful - overlooking the sea, in an olive grove, an old house, probably still a Victorian era with wooden shutters. Every morning - sea bass and homemade cheese for breakfast. You sit on the veranda, scratching flea bites and realizing that life was a success. Only now the child was suffering there - the fleas bitten him especially hard, during the day he could not even fall asleep from them, he had to take him out to sleep on the street. Therefore, we left there three days earlier, and at a small point from the bites were only the day of departure for the historic homeland ... "
But the troubles described above are only the lesser of the evils that fleas can inflict. Fleas are really dangerous because they suffer the most serious human infectious diseases.
Diseases that carry fleas
Fleas are known primarily because they are carriers of deadly human diseases:
- plague, including bubonic
- typhus and recurrent typhus
... and many other infections, also extremely unpleasant - listeriosis, fungal diseases, salmonellosis.
Of course, the probability that a random flea will be the carrier of a specific causative agent of a deadly disease is small, but it is always potentially available. And this is the greatest danger of fleas for a person.
It is interesting
It was fleas, in particular - the southern rat flea - who became the cause of one of the most deadly pandemics in the history of mankind - the pandemic of the bubonic plague in the Middle Ages. Then the disease claimed more than 15 million lives. She came first to the Crimea on Chinese ships - with fleas in the wool of gray rats. And already from the Crimea began her procession on the continent. Today, in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, the causative agent of the bubonic plague continues to thrive in the colonies of gophers and burrows of jerboas infected with the same rat fleas.
For humans, not only fleas that are found in rats are dangerous. Due to the fact that these parasites are not particularly choosy towards the species of the host, they can attack other species of animals.
For example, if a cat catches a rat, the fleas with the latter will easily move to the murching pet, and from it - into the house where people will bite. Therefore, fleas in a cat are dangerous in the same way that fleas are dangerous in rats, dogs or rabbits.
And, finally, fleas are active carriers of helminth eggs (worms), and a huge number of their species. These fleas also represent a danger to humans.
If you accidentally or specially crush a flea, and after eating food without washing your hands, it is easy to bring in the eggs eggs, flukes, ascarids and other worms. And the probability of infection with helminths during the attack of fleas is higher than the probability of receiving pathogens of infectious diseases.
What are fleas dangerous for children?
For children, fleas are even more dangerous than for adults. Children react more sharply to the bites of parasites, they have more frequent allergic reactions. In this case, the allergy after mass bites leads to more serious consequences, rashes and swelling, generalized symptoms such as migraine and lymph node enlargement are more common.
Especially dangerous are fleas for children who have not yet been vaccinated. It is they who are at risk of contracting certain infections from which standard vaccines are protected.
For pregnant fleas are as dangerous as they are dangerous to other people. But it should be remembered that a trifling, at first glance, up to banal allergies can affect the fetus, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.
Therefore, it is absolutely undesirable for future mothers to face parasites wherever.
Fleas in exotic countries: double danger
Exotic fleas are an exotic danger for humans. So, widespread in the Caribbean, Vietnam and India, sand fleas bite under their fingernails or just in the skin, suck in to the blood vessel and in a few days significantly increase in size .
These are females, in the body of which eggs ripen. The cavity, in which they find themselves in such parasitism, becomes inflamed and causes a sharp pain to a person. Given that most often they infect the legs, their victims may even lose the ability to walk for a while.
In advanced cases or with mass infection in humans, generalized inflammations and gangrene may develop.
A small percentage of the population of these areas is due to sand fleas becoming disabled.
Which fleas are the most dangerous?
The most dangerous for human fleas should be considered rat fleas, in particular - the southern rat flea, most often a carrier of the plague. Bird fleas are also dangerous, which are typical sources of the causative agent of salmonellosis.
In the tropics, sand fleas are more dangerous, capable of themselves leading to loss of ability to work, and sometimes - and the ability to move around.
Interestingly, the largest fleas that parasitize cattle are rarely affected by humans and are almost never the source of infectious diseases. Therefore, it should be remembered that the most dangerous fleas are small bloodsuckers, who often live right next to us - in the basements and burrows of rats and mice. They should be feared most of all.