A rare form of disease has spread to Los Angeles county and has already left people sick and hospitalized.
Typhus is a bacterial disease which causes rashes and has symptoms similar to the flu.
Two cities in L.A. county have seen increasing numbers of the typhus disease.
20 people in Pasadena and 13 in Long Beach have all been infected and hospitalized.
Public health officials stated that the homeless population and the unsanitary conditions have made the problem worse.
The risk of getting the disease is higher when around highly populated places that are not sanitary.
Dr. Hillary Mennella, dean of Student Health services at Cerritos college, explained how Typhus is passing through the county.
“It is passed by infected fleas that were once on an infected animal.”
Animals that are infected by the disease are rats, mice, opossums and even house pets.
This type of typhus on animals is called “murine typhus,” which is rare to see today.
Mennella described the symptoms of this murine typhus saying that they are very similar to any other symptoms to an illness.
“We wouldn’t know if we have it because it’s like any other symptoms like fever, chills, and headaches.”
Mennella also stated to see your primary doctor if you have these symptoms just to be cautious and safe about this rare disease.
The L.A. county Health Department recently posted on its website how people contract the disease and may not even realize it.
“It’s contracted when the feces from infected fleas are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in the skin or rubbed in the eyes,” said the Health Department.
L.A. city officials declared skid row to be a “typhus zone” due to the increasing homeless population and unsanitary conditions.
Cerritos College student Rudy Mata shared what he thought should be done about the homeless population and typhus.
“I believe the city should provide more shelters for the homeless so they will have a safe and sanitary place to be at because the more they are in the streets, the higher risk of them catching typhus.”
City officials are finding solutions to stop the spreading of typhus by housing the increasing homeless population and clean up the unsanitary conditions.