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The Los Angeles typhus epidemic

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Batman, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    You're talking about disease. My criticisms of Trumpland are rooted in its contempt of education. Big difference.
  2. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    And if you actually read my posts, you'll see that I'm not reveling in the misery of disease. Or even the plight of the homeless. I'm fascinated by the failures of local governments to head off or even acknowledge a problem anyone with a brain could have seen coming, largely because they're apparently preoccupied with trivial nonsense. It's a potential public health crisis they still don't seem to be taking seriously and that is starting to spread beyond that community.
    There's no easy way to deal with the homeless problem, but it's pretty clear that this outbreak is largely the result of a number of public policy failures related to the issue, over a number of years. That's interesting to me, especially as we approach a presidential election where one side is going to put up a lot of candidates with the same political mindset as those that allowed this to happen.
  3. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

  5. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Everybody does want to move there, but nobody should kid themselves. It's usually more for a very mundane but life-impacting reason than anything else: the weather.
  6. Regan MacNeil

    Regan MacNeil Well-Known Member

    This thread was not started in good faith. That is 100 percent obvious.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    It was started because I think this is an interesting story on a potentially major public health situation in the second largest city in the country, as well as the underlying causes and policies that have allowed it to develop. It's been festering for almost a year now and just in the past week or so has started to garner some wider attention because of recent developments.
    It's quite newsworthy.
    So, with all due respect, piss off.
  8. Regan MacNeil

    Regan MacNeil Well-Known Member

    I don't know why I would ever think you weren't acting in good faith.

    And back at you, slick.
  9. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Tap has an ingrained hatred of anything south of the Mason-Dixon line. That was a shot at him.
    You really think this story isn't worth mentioning and discussing?
  10. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    So there are a few flavors of typhus, including endemic and epidemic. They're different bacteria and carried by different beasties. The one running around right now is endemic typhus (Rickettsia typhi). The one that busts out in POW camps and the like is epidemic typhus (Rickettsia prowazekii, which typically causes a nastier disease in people with low reserve), and the one that's carried by chiggers is another genus entirely. Endemic typhus highly treatable with common antibiotics, and it's been around the states forever, particularly in California and Texas because of the climate. This is a slight bump in concentration of cases but it's not a particularly large number in the grand scheme of typhus outbreaks - it's just infected a prominent person in a big city so is getting all the press.

    As mentioned, R. typhi is transmitted by fleas, and fleas don't tend to travel as well as a body louse, even in in overcrowded conditions like homelessness. They, for lack of a better term, hold on for a snack then fall off. It is possible for them to hang in carpet or clothing for a day but they have to feed regularly or they die. As such, good pest control (as was mentioned, getting rid of the rats that are the real host for the fleas and either having regular carpet cleaning or no carpet at all) is the best prevention. It's significantly less of a public health crisis than the measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest because we already know we can't really prevent endemic typhus and we have really effective first and second line antibiotic treatments. We can absolutely prevent measles and we can't treat it other than symptomatically once you've got it.

    And it's nothing at all like plague. That's just fear-mongering.
    amraeder, Batman and Vombatus like this.
  11. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Agreed the measles outbreak is the more distressing of the two.
    The comparison to plague is appropriate in how they're transmitted, though, right? Filth causes rats, rats have fleas, fleas bite people, people get sick.
  12. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    The transmission is similar, but the diseases are nothing alike and the original post said something to the effect of it being a couple steps away from bubonic plague, which is just not true. Plague has a significantly higher mortality rate even when treated (and FYI, it still pops with regularity in the western states). Typhus is essentially bacterial flu with transient confusion/neuro signs and a rash.

    It's also not a medieval disease - it's called endemic because it's pretty much ever present in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. It's a pretty well known risk in more tropical countries for travelers (quick Googling says Thailand seems to have more than average). It's a combo of wildlife carriers, including rats, climate that doesn't kill fleas, and the disease getting into the right flea/carrier. If it were just the rats, NYC would have all the flea-vector diseases pretty much nonstop.
    Batman and Vombatus like this.
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