LA Becomes Sanctuary for Typhus From Rat-Infested Garbage Heaps


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Last Wednesday I wrote about the massive pile of rat-infested garbage in downtown Los Angeles which had the potential to become a breeding ground for disease. As NBC 4 reported, the city had been called multiple times but seemed to be in no hurry to clean up the mess despite the fact that there was a typhus outbreak (connected to fleas living on rats) in this same area last year.

Maybe that will finally change now that this has happened. Yesterday the LAPD released a statement saying an employee had contracted typhoid. A second employee is displaying symptoms consistent with typhus. The two diseases sound similar but are each caused by a distinct type of bacteria spread in different ways.

The Department has learned about an employee from our Central Division, who has contracted salmonella typhi and is currently being treated for the condition. A second employee has typhus-like symptoms but a specific diagnosis has not been determined.

Our Facilities Management Division is working with the city’s General Services Department to disinfect any work areas that may have been exposed and that work is expected to be completed this evening.

The typhus diagnosis of the second employee hasn’t been confirmed yet. Typhus is spread by fleas or body lice that live on rats or other animals. Typhoid is caused by a different bacteria and can be spread from person to person usually as a result of food or water contaminated with feces. From ABC News:

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