Los Angeles Trash & Food Disposal and Typhus Education Mailers
The Los Angeles Trash Crisis
There is a trash and rodent crisis in downtown Los Angeles is occurring for many reasons
- the large homeless population with nowhere to place their trash
- the high fees for trash pickup leading to merchants, businesses, and residents illegally dumping
- overcrowded households creating more trash than the trash pickup fees that they can afford
- rodent infestation due to dumping of food scraps along with regular garbage
- rodents carrying disease which can be transmitted to humans via flea bits
- the city either having inadequate resources for or not being allocated to street trash pickup, in some cases with the trash sitting in the streets and alleyways for months until the voices of the citizens are heard.
- cases of typhus reported by individuals, including city office workers
What is Typhus?
Flea-borne typhus, is a disease that infected fleas can spread to humans, which should not to be confused with epidemic typhus which is spread from person-to-person contact and is not happening in Los Angeles. Bacteria (Rickettsia typhi and R. felis) found in infected fleas, and their feces, cause murine typhus. Flea-borne typhus can cause high fever, chills, headache, and rash in people and can be treated with antibiotics. Places where there is an accumulation of trash that attract wild animals like feral cats, rats and opossums that may carry an infected flea may increase the risk of exposure. Flea-borne typhus is not transmitted person-by-person.
Per a news release by the County of Los Angeles Health Department in October 2018: The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is investigating an outbreak involving several cases of flea-borne typhus in downtown Los Angeles and is working with the city of Los Angeles to implement environmental safety measures to reduce the spread of the disease.
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, one particular area with piles
of trash is “surrounded by food distribution companies that sell to shoppers, vendors, stores and restaurants, including seven within a block, so you have to wonder — given the colonies of football-size rats — about the potential contamination of the food supply chain and the spread of disease.”
“When the typhus outbreak was first reported in October, that was one place we knew rats were, for sure.”
ESTELA LOPEZ, HEAD OF THE DOWNTOWN INDUSTRIAL BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT