Feb. 9, 2019– Mary Greeley News – Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney, Liz Greenwood, contracted typhus from working at City Hall, which is infested with rats. In 2018, a record-setting 124 cases of the typhus were reported. Mayor Garcetti promised to clean up the heaps of rat-infested trash around Los Angeles to combat the typhus epidemic, but they still are to be seen everywhere, and the infectious disease is worsening. -GEG
All carpets at Los Angeles City Hall may need to be replaced amid a Typhus outbreak that may have infected one city employee while at work, according to a motion filed by Council President Herb Wesson on Wednesday.
Wesson first became aware of a vermin issue in November 2018, contacted pest control experts and removed all his office’s carpets, according to the motion.
The motion reported cleanup issues and a noticeable increase in rodents in the area, which could have contributed to the outbreak.
Wesson’s motion asks for a report on the scope of vermin and pest control issues at City Hall, and instructs city staff to report back with a cost estimate for removing all carpets in the building and an assessment of all live plants in any city building.
Symptoms of typhus include fever, headache and a rash. Untreated cases are fatal.
“It felt like somebody was driving railroad stakes through my eyes and out the back of my neck,” Greenwood told NBC 4 last week. “Who gets typhus? It’s a medieval disease that’s caused by trash.”
Ms. Greenwood believes she contracted typhus from fleas that have infested her office at City Hall East.
“There are rats in City Hall and City Hall East,” Greenwood added. “There are enormous rats and their tails are as long as their bodies.”
In October, Mayor Garcetti promised to clean up the heaps of rat-infested trash piling up around Los Angeles to help combat the Typhus epidemic.
Even though the Mayor allocated millions of dollars to help clean up the streets in LA, especially Skid Row, known as “the Typhus Zone,” there are still mountains of trash everywhere and the infectious disease is worsening.
KTLA reported that city workers were seen power-washing the ground outside of City Hall Thursday and clearing out piles of rat-infested trash in the area nearby.
Heaps of trash, rats, typhus, exploding homeless population and tent cities — isn’t liberalism grand?
The Los Angeles City Council on Friday ordered a handful of city agencies to draw up an assessment of fleas and vermin at City Hall, with at least one member linking the problem to the ongoing homelessness crisis.
City officials told council members that they believe the rat infestation was triggered by the demolition of Parker Center, the former police department headquarters being dismantled across from City Hall East on Los Angeles Street.
But Councilman Joe Buscaino drew his own connection between a 2016 court injunction, which limited how and when the city can seize and destroy the property of homeless people on skid row, and the City Hall rat infestation and recent cases of flea-borne typhus.
“Rats are a symbol of this injunction,” said Buscaino, who represents Watts and the harbor area. “They are emblematic of how we lost control of the homeless, trash and encampment issue. And if we can’t protect the greatest symbol of our own democracy, our own City Hall, if we can’t protect our own staff from this medieval disease, then we should all pack up and go home.”
Branimir Kvartuc, a Buscaino spokesman, said his boss wants L.A. to challenge the injunction. Buscaino later added in a written statement that city lawyers have advised city workers to interpret the injunction “very conservatively, which is resulting in giant mountains of trash.”
Pete White, executive director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, countered that the injunction has “nothing to do with a typhus outbreak — nor does it have anything to do with rats.” Under the injunction, the city can still destroy property that poses an immediate threat to public health.
The injunction “in no way prohibits a robust rat extermination plan,” he said.
White, whose organization advocates for poor people on skid row, said his group has repeatedly called for more trash pickup and other measures to deal with rodents. City leaders should take those steps instead of trying to blame legal protections for skid row residents and their property, he said.
County health officials declared a typhus outbreak last year in downtown L.A., saying people should avoid stray or wild animals, including rats. Typhus is a flea-borne illness that occurs when fleas bite rats and become infected with bacteria known as Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia felis.
The illness can spread to humans through flea bites or the feces of infected fleas when rubbed into cuts or scrapes in the skin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Personnel Department officials say last year’s typhus outbreak is unrelated to recent reports of rodents in City Hall and in neighboring buildings.
Still, one city employee said her doctor diagnosed her with typhus in November — and believes she contracted the disease while working in her City Hall East office. Deputy City Atty. Elizabeth Greenwood said she has not returned to work since November.