L.A. Typhus Outbreak At 'Epidemic Levels', Linked To Homeless

Typhus is an infectious disease that is often associated with poor hygiene, overcrowding, and even homelessness. Since July of this year, the city of Los Angeles has reported nine cases of typhus outbreaks in downtown. And in Pasadena, they've seen 20 reported cases this year alone.

This week, Mayor Yoga Pants Garcetti promised to spend $300,000 to clean up downtown Los Angeles and form a task force. But is that doing enough to end the city's homeless problems? Many say it's not, especially when typhus outbreaks are involved...

“The sidewalks weren’t ever intended for habitation, our storm drains were never intended for human waste, and rats [are] crawling all over people,” Estela Lopez, executive director of the L.A. Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District said. “This is unimaginable, that in such an advanced society we would be facing this problem.”

According to the California Department of Public Health, there were only five cases of typhus reported in 2008. So far this year, they've seen a staggering 79 cases, with most of them reported in Los Angeles County.

“We’re deploying every available resource to help control and stop this outbreak,” Alex Comisar, a spokesman for Garcetti said.

Symptoms of typhus include fevers, body aches, stomach pain and rashes. Without treatment, the infectious disease could even lead to heart, brain, and lung damage.

Read the full outbreak report and how it ties into the homeless debate on the Los Angeles Times.

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