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Leprosy Could be the Next Public Health Crisis to Hit Los Angeles

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 Jennie Taer | 6 September 2019

SARA A. CARTER — Leprosy cases are emerging in Los Angeles County, according to a recent study revealed in a Reuters Health report and its co-author Dr. Maria Teresa Ochoa of Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles told Reuters Health that she’s urging the public to “fight the stigma.”

The disease commonly referred to as “Hansen’s Disease” is curable when treated expeditiously, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Scientists believe it is spread through particles in the air, but also say contact must be “prolonged” and “close.” An infected person can suffer mild to severe damage to the body’s “skin, nerves, and mucous membranes.” Moreover, patients can lose feeling in parts of their bodies and suffer permanent blindness. […]

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