Typhus Epidemic Spreads in Los Angeles

Los Angeles homeless (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty)
Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty
JOEL B. POLLAK

A typhus epidemic is spreading in Los Angeles, and has moved beyond the homeless population, according to a report by local NBC News affiliate KNBC-4.

Breitbart News noted last year that an outbreak of flea-borne typhus had begun in downtown Los Angeles, where there is a large homeless population. UPI reported that even though typhus is not “unusual” in Southern California, public health officials had noted an increase in cases in 2018.

Now, the epidemic appears to be growing, according to KNBC-4:

Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood, a veteran prosecutor, tells NBC4 she was diagnosed with typhus in November, after experiencing high fevers and excruciating headaches.

Greenwood believes she contracted typhus from fleas in her office at City Hall East. Fleas often live on rats, which congregate in the many heaps of trash that are visible across the city of LA, and are a breeding ground for typhus.

Last year set a new record for the number of typhus cases — 124 in LA County for the year, according to the California Department of Public Health.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a statement in response to KNBC-4’s report:

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. 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.

Garcetti, who has been criticized for failing to reduce homelessness in the city, announced that he would not be seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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