Flea Zone

Duration : 52 '
Support : Digital Betacam - stereo - 16/9 - 4/3
Originale version : French
Available version : English

Director : Thierry Berrod
Production : Mona Lisa - France 2 - France 5
Discovery International - IRD - CNRS Images Media


Carriers of the plague, fleas were responsible for one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of mankind, the Black Death, which killed one third of the population of Europe in the Middle Ages. Fleas still kill in Madagascar and Zaire by transmitting bubonic plague ... Paradoxically, scientists used them as living syringes. Their ability to transmit "germs" is used to vaccinate wild rabbits against myxamatosis.


Fleas are a true hobby for many people. They are classified and huge amounts of data are stored in the best traditions of the secret services. Collectors are fascinated by their history, anti-flea furs, flea-hunting records and even erotic poems in which they figure ! Some collectors, like the famous banker Lord Rothschild, build up fabulous collections with over 270,000 specimens and they are even dressed up in tiny fragments of fabric and accessories made to their size.


Fleas are invaders. Their public enemy n°1 is a scientist known as Dr FLEA. In Miami, the "flea squad" receives up to 1,000 emergency calls a week. A booming business has grown around laboratories producing products to fight parasites by raising and marketing fleas at 10 cents each.


Fleas are amazing jumpers. In fact, on their scale, a jump would take a man over the Eiffel tower ! They are fast movers too-with an acceleration 50 times greater than a space shuttle. And tireless-their ability to jump over 600 times an hour makes them remarkable circus animals.

"...Ladies and gentlemen, do not hesitate... if you are stinging for something unusual, the show is on the screen!"

Télérama - 21/06/1997


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