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2 Feb, 2019 02:58

‘Medieval disease caused by trash’: Typhus spreads to LA City Hall

‘Medieval disease caused by trash’: Typhus spreads to LA City Hall

The epidemic of typhus in Los Angeles, California has spread from homeless encampments to City Hall. Local authorities say they are trying to address the problem, but critics point to mountains of trash lining the streets.

Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood was diagnosed with typhus in November, after complaining about having headaches and high fever, she told KNBC on Friday.

“It felt like somebody was driving railroad stakes through my eyes and out the back of my neck,” Greenwood said. “Who gets typhus? It's a medieval disease that's caused by trash.”

Last year the Los Angeles County registered a record 124 cases of typhus, KNBC reported citing the California Department of Public Health. One of them was Greenwood, who believes she caught the disease from fleas that made their way into her office.

“There are rats in City Hall and City Hall East,” she said. “There are enormous rats and their tails are as long as their bodies.”

Rats often carry fleas, and tend to live in garbage piles that have accumulated across Los Angeles as the city’s homeless population continues to grow uncontrollably.

Back in October, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to clean up the trash piles as part of an effort to curb the spread of typhus, and allocated millions of dollars for sanitation of streets in the Skid Row neighborhood.

“You can't solve it (the typhus epidemic) until you hit the cause,” Estela Lopez of the Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District told KNBC, “and the cause of it is that you still have these mountains of trash.”

The city has already fumigated several police offices, but the City Hall is apparently still on the to-do list.

“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,” city spokeswoman Vicki Curry said in a statement.

California is the most populous US state, and has a gross domestic product estimated at $2.9 trillion -- ranking as the fifth-largest economy in the world, right behind Germany. Los Angeles County has over 10 million inhabitants as of 2017.

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