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‘Medieval’ Diseases Flare As Unsanitary Living Conditions Proliferate

Rats are likely contributing to a typhus outbreak on Los Angeles' skid row, experts say, prompting the city and county to take steps to reduce the spread of diseases. PHOTO: NBC/Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty

By Anna Gorman | 12 March 2019

KAISER HEALTH NEWS — Jennifer Millar keeps trash bags and hand sanitizer near her tent, and she regularly pours water mixed with hydrogen peroxide on the sidewalk nearby. Keeping herself and the patch of concrete she calls home clean is a top priority.

But this homeless encampment off a Hollywood freeway ramp is often littered with needles and trash, and soaked in urine. Rats occasionally scamper through, and Millar fears the consequences.

“I worry about all those diseases,” said Millar, 43, who said she has been homeless most of her life.

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. […]

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