When I saw the headline I couldn't believe what I was reading, a man in Texas lost his hands and parts of his feet due to complications from a bug bite. Not some exotic bug from parts unknown, we're talking about a flea, a common flea bite almost killed him.

Did You Know...

Did you have any idea that a flea bite could lead to this? I sure didn't. The man is 35-year-old Houstonian Michael Kohlhof. Michael was in seemingly good health before this happened. According to the story on Fox26Houston.com, Kohlhof was in San Antonio visiting his parents when on June 19 he had to be admitted to a local hospital after suffering from what seemed to be severe flu symptoms, within 24 hours he was on a ventilator, his organs were beginning to shut down and it looked he wasn't going to make it.


Hospital doctors determined that Michael's illness was typhus, which is a bacterial disease he had evidently contracted from a single flea bite.

Typhus - Canva
Typhus - Canva

According to the doctor in the story, typhus is very treatable with antibiotics but the treatment apparently needs to start early on, if the disease progresses too far then you're looking at treatments that could end up doing serious damage to your hands and feet, as was the case for Mr. Kohlhof.

The good news is, even though Michael is still in the hospital he is expected to make a full recovery. His severe case is considered rare, thank goodness. The problem shows up on occasion because the symptoms are so similar to the flu that proper diagnosis and treatment could be delayed.

Typhus is primarily carried by fleas that infest rats, cats, and possums according to the experts in the video below.

How can you avoid flea bites?

  • Treat your pets regularly
  • Don't leave pet food outside
  • Put covers on your outdoor trash cans
  • Always wear EPA-approved insect repellants when working or playing outside

Most importantly, if you do get bit by a flea and start suffering from symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • appetite loss
  • nausea, stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • rash

Get to a doctor and show them the bite location.

Want to try a homemade flea trap? Here's an easy and cheap way to do it.

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