Infectious diseases — some that ravaged populations in the Middle Ages — are resurging in California and around the country, and are hitting homeless populations especially hard, Kaiser Health News reports.
The article cited Los Angeles’s recent outbreak of typhus — a disease spread by infected fleas on rats and other animals — in downtown streets. Officials briefly closed part of City Hall after reporting that rodents had invaded the building.
There were 167 cases of typhus from Jan. 1, 2018, through Feb. 1 of this year, up from 125 in 2013 and 13 in 2008, according to the California Public Health Department.
Other areas of the country are reporting a rise in the number of people infected with Shigella bacteria, Hepatitis A and syphilis, the article noted.
The diseases have flared as the nation’s homeless population has grown in the past two years: About 553,000 people were homeless at the end of 2018, and nearly one-quarter of homeless people live in California, the article reported.
The diseases spread quickly and widely among people living outside or in shelters, fueled by sidewalks contaminated with human feces, crowded living conditions, weakened immune systems and limited access to health care.
Source: Kaiser Health News