‘Medieval’ diseases flare as unsanitary living conditions proliferate
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.
Los Angeles recently experienced an outbreak of typhus—a disease spread by infected fleas on rats and other animals—in downtown streets. Officials briefly closed part of City Hall after reporting that rodents had invaded the building.