The number of flea-born Typhus cases in Los Angeles has hit 107. So far this year 72 patients have been recorded by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health with a further 15 in Long Beach and 20 in Pasadena.
In the 2000s there were around 20 cases recorded per year and analysts are putting the dramatic rise down to a 47 per cent increase in homelessness since 2012.
One official in Long Beach told NBC News that almost half a million potential cases are ‘under investigation.’
Andy Bales, CEO of the Union Rescue Mission, which has nearly 1,400 beds for the displaced, said the city and county governments can only do so much to alleviate a homeless problem that has sparked outbreaks of Hepatitis A, typhus and gang violence over the skid row drug trade. He’s calling on the federal goverment and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help.
“It’s a FEMA-like disaster and it needs to be treated as such,” he said.
Typhus can cause headaches, fevers, chills, and in more severe cases it can lead to meningitis and death. The current illness is known as “murine typhus,” as it is spread primarily through flea bites or droppings from infected rats and mice.