Medieval Disease Typhus Strikes Los Angeles

 In Domestic

Los Angeles is battling outbreaks of the medieval disease Typhus that has spread from the homeless population to even city officials who work at the the different city halls. Typhus is caused by fleas infected with the Rickettsia typhi bacteriaaccording to the CDC.

“It felt like somebody was driving railroad stakes through my eyes and out the back of my neck. Who gets typhus? It’s a medieval disease that’s caused by trash…” Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood

“There are rats in City Hall and City Hall East. There are enormous rats and their tails are as long as their bodies.” Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood 

Ahem. Holding my tongue about the rats.

The fleas get on the rats, which infest the hundreds of piles of garbage around the city. Though the city of Los Angeles works hard to remove the piles of garbage, more appears soon after they are taken away by city workers.

The Daily Wire reported,

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who recently announced he would not pursue a presidential campaign in 2020, has been trying to control the typhus epidemic largely by allocating funds for trash cleanup, particularly in areas where homeless people gather to live for extended periods of time, including the city’s famous Skid Row.

“Last fall we directed multiple City departments to begin a coordinated and comprehensive effort to improve cleanliness and protect public health in the Civic Center, including City Hall and City Hall East,” a spokeswoman for the city of Los Angeles told local media.

“In addition to increased trash collection and cleanings, aggressive action has been taken to address pests both in the buildings and in the surrounding outside areas — including abatement treatments and the filling of 60 rodent burrows and 114 tree wells. This work in busy and highly populated public buildings is executed carefully to protect workers and visitors, and the scheduling of extermination activities takes these factors into consideration,” she added.

All that work has not helped. Last year there were over 100 cases of typhus reported. That number is climbing so far in 2019 according to the article in Daily Wire.

According to the LA Times, a 2017 study found 222 encampments of homeless people. “People in Koreatown step outside their fancy condos to find tents, rotting food and human feces at their doorsteps. Buses and trains have become de facto shelters, and thousands of people sleep in fear and degradation.”

They sleep in rat infested conditions with infested rats and their typhus fleas. Not good and leaves a situation that could be ripe for a major epidemic.

There are several kinds of typhus; the kind caused by fleas is “Murine typhus.” The CDC reports that the symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Body aches and muscle pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Cough
  • Rash (typically occurs around day 5 of illness)

People can recover from the disease on their own, but it is normally treated with the antibiotic doxycycline.

Authorities are advising people to watch their pets carefully and make sure they have flea protection…and watch out for rats.


Featured photo: screenshot via LATACO

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