Thanks to modern medicine, there are certain illnesses we just don’t have to worry about. At least, that’s the idea.
But one Los Angeles woman’s experience is generating discussion about the return of eradicated diseases.
Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Elizabeth Greenwood contracted typhus, an illness that causes extremely high fever, muscle aches, and headache. The disease is typically spread by rats, who carry infected fleas.
So how did Elizabeth come in contact with typhus? She claims to have contracted the disease as a result of a rat infestation at her City Hall workplace.
She has now filed a claim against the city for $5 million.
“It felt like someone was driving stakes, railroad stakes through my eyes,” Elizabeth told Inside Edition. “It absolutely disabled me.”
Rob Wilcox, the spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, released this statement regarding Elizabeth’s claim: “The facts are that there was vigorous testing in City Hall and surrounding buildings and not one flea was found. And there have been no other claims of typhus alleged by city employees. City leaders remain committed to our employees’ health and safety.”
Typhus typically spreads in areas with poor sanitation. As a result, the disease has seen a reemergence in LA’s homeless population. Negeen Farmand, a physician assistant with the Saban Community Clinic, helps treat those living on the streets for typhus and other illnesses.
“Typhus […] was something that was eradicated so many years ago,” Negeen explained. “To have that come up again tells you how bad the situation is.”
There are other illnesses that are also making a comeback. According to Dr. Drew Pinsky, tuberculosis and even the plague are also coming back.
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