Are Medieval Diseases Making A Comeback In The Homeless Community?

Jennifer Millar stays in a homeless encampment off a Hollywood freeway ramp. She is constantly cleaning the concrete sidewalk around her, and is careful around trash.

“I worry about all those diseases,” said Millar, 43, who has been homeless most of her life according to The Atlantic.

The piles of trash and human feces on crowded sidewalks make for very dirty city streets. Crowded living conditions and limited health care definitely don't help stop the spreading of diseases either.

Los Angeles recently had a typhus outbreak in downtown and around City Hall. With the spreading of the disease through fleas, rats, and the homeless, many say that medieval diseases are going to make a comeback in California.

In the past two years, California has also seen an increase in Hepatitis A cases. Usually spread through feces in the homeless community, the disease has recently infected more than 1,000 people in the southern part of the state.

“Our homeless crisis is increasingly becoming a public-health crisis,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his State of the State speech in February.

“Typhus,” he said. “A medieval disease. In California. In 2019.”

At the end of 2018, there were about 553,000 people reported as homeless. Almost one-quarter of that homeless population lives in California.

“It really is unconscionable,” Bobby Watts, the CEO of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council said. “These are all preventable diseases.”

Read more about the diseases on the Atlantic.

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