Siphonaptera, more commonly known as fleas, are an order of wingless arthropods with more than 2000 species. Though fleas survive in a multitude of environments, they are rare in low humidity environments and at elevations over 1500 ft. Fleas survive as ectoparasites on warm-blooded species by consuming their blood. They are small, ranging in size from 1.0 to 3.3 mm, and have long hind legs adapted for jumping. Fleas are predominantly a nuisance to their host causing pruritic local reactions. They can also act as vectors for disease including typhus, rickettsial disease, bubonic plague, protozoan, and helminth infestations. Understanding these features can help to direct history taking, the physical exam, and treatment options. Additionally, exploring eradication techniques within the human environment can help to reduce the spread of disease from fleas to humans.
Copyright © 2021, StatPearls Publishing LLC.