Los Angeles is facing a new public health risk from a massive rat infestation largely ignored by local officials; raising serious concerns over ‘medieval’ illnesses re-emerging across the country’s second largest city.
“An ever-growing number of rodents in California — particularly in Los Angeles — is being fueled by a spiking homeless population and restrictions on rodenticides that are risking a public health crisis, according to a study released Tuesday,” reports Fox News.
“The report by political action committee Reform California cites recent rodent-related events over the past six months, including an employee at the Los Angeles Police Department contracting Typhus and a rat falling from the ceiling of a Buffalo Wild Wings onto the menu of a patron, as proof of an ‘undeniable problem’ in the Golden State,” adds Fox.
“California is being overrun by rodents,” said Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California. “Without immediate emergency action by state and local government, we face significant economic costs and risk a public health crisis.”
“Contrary to common belief, being bitten by a rodent is rare and is not the most common way diseases are spread. Nonetheless, reports of city workers being bitten by rodents is on the rise – with most recent cases being reported in Los Angeles,” the report notes. “Two other vehicles of transmission are far more prevalent: fleas and urine droppings.”
The report comes weeks after officials confirmed a massive infestation at Los Angeles City Hall.
Experts are now blaming the infestation on “homeless camps” circling the public property.
“When faced with complaints earlier this year from city workers about rats infesting L.A. City Hall, most city officials said little about whether the problem was connected to several homeless camps right outside,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
“But a newly uncovered report from a pest control company hired by the city has raised fresh questions about whether officials wrongly downplayed that possibility during discussions at City Council meetings,” adds the newspaper.
According to the pest control company hired to clear city hall, workers found “poor sanitary conditions” including human waste, food, and needles throughout the property.
“The homeless are using the grated areas above the pits as their bathroom and relieving themselves,” wrote David Costa, building construction and maintenance superintendent. “This is also attracting the rats. Custodial will need to do some hazmat cleaning of the grates and the pits. There are even hypodermic needles being tossed in the pits along with human waste and other garbage.”
The invasion comes after two LAPD officers were diagnosed with Typhus and other serious diseases related to the city’s rat population.
Los Angeles continued its ongoing struggle with rampant homelessness and crumbling infrastructure weeks ago, with residents complaining of “rotting trash piles” that are attacking rats and posing a major risk to the health of residents and tourists.
“Rat-infested piles of rotting garbage left uncollected by the city of Los Angeles, even after promises to clean it up, are fueling concerns about a new epidemic after last year’s record number of flea-borne typhus cases,” reports NBC Los Angeles.
“Even the city’s most notorious trash pile, located between downtown LA’s busy Fashion and Produce districts, continues to be a magnet for rats after it was cleaned up months ago. The rodents can carry typhus-infected fleas, which can spread the disease to humans through bacteria rubbed into the eyes or cuts and scrapes on the skin, resulting in severe flu-like symptoms,” adds the article.
“I can’t walk down the street without thinking that a flea could jump on me,” complained a local business owner.
Read the full report at Fox News.