Typhus Epidemic Worsens, While Los Angeles’ Response ‘Too Slow’

Los Angeles County's typhus epidemic continues to worsen, with 107 people now infected, while some are complaining the city is too slow to take action, including removing heaps of uncollected garbage that are breeding grounds for the disease.

"Nobody cares," says Fred Yasharpour, who owns Sana Fabric store in the section of downtown LA known as the Typhus Zone, where 12 people have been infected.

A week ago Yasharpour called and emailed the city to pick up "a mountain of trash" on a sidewalk on Crocker Street, but it's still there.

"They don't have enough resources," he told NBC4.

Just a month ago, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti told the I-Team's Joel Grover "it's unacceptable" that the city hasn't responded to calls to clean up mounds of rat-infested trash "and as mayor I'm going to make sure that is changed."

Health experts say typhus is spread to humans from fleas, which harbor on rats that feed off trash piles. The city has accelerated efforts to power wash rat infested streets and remove trash from homeless encampments that attract rats.

But LA has been slower to fulfill a promise to fumigate for fleas and rats on the 23 blocks of the Typhus Zone. When the I-Team pressed the Department of Public Works for an update, they admitted that only 6 out of 23 blocks have been treated.

"They (the city of LA) have great ideas about the typhus outbreak, but nothing's getting done," says businessman Yasharpour.

Contact Us