A concern with fleas is their ability to transmit disease organisms. This ability is enhanced by their promiscuous feeding habits as they move from one host species to another. For example, the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, readily attacks humans, dogs, rats and foxes. The human flea, Pulex irritans, can be found on dogs, rats, pigs, mice, deer and foxes.
Infestation by fleas may also cause severe inflammation of the skin and intense itching. The potentially long pupal stage, and the fact that adult fleas can live without food for remarkably long periods, accounts for the fact that people may enter a house after it has been unoccupied by humans or pets for months, yet be rapidly and severely attacked by fleas. Fleas most often bite people about the legs and ankles, and there are usually 2 or 3 bites in a row. The bites are felt immediately, but tend to become increasingly irritating, and are frequently sore for as much as a week
Management of fleas on pets must occur in conjunction with regular, thorough cleaning of pet resting areas indoors and out. Once fleas infest a home, control will require a vigilant program that includes vacuuming, eliminating fleas on pets, and cleaning up and possibly treating shaded outdoor locations where pets rest.