There's a typhus epidemic in Los Angeles just like any other third world city

Los Angeles is a modern American city of 4 million people that's in the midst of a typhus epidemic.

Typhus? Really?

It's true. The same disease that afflicts many residents of Caracas, Venezuela is spreading in Los Angeles and city officials - not to mention residents - are frightened.

Typhus is spread by fleas hitching a ride on rats. The rat population in LA is doing fine, thank you, as piles of garbage dot the cityscape, making it Thanksgiving Day every day for the city's fat, happy rodents.


For months, LA County public health officials have said typhus is mainly hitting the homeless population.

But Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood, a veteran prosecutor, tells NBC4 she was diagnosed with typhus in November, after experiencing high fevers and excruciating headaches.

"It felt like somebody was driving railroad stakes through my eyes and out the back of my neck," Greenwood told the I-Team. "Who gets typhus? It's a medieval disease that's caused by trash."

Characterizing typhus as a "medieval" disease is terribly unfair - to medieval people. It's a disease of the third world where city services have broken down and trash pickup becomes a luxury.

The city attorney who contracted the disease works at city hall - a building apparently infested with rats.

Greenwood believes she contracted typhus from fleas in her office at City Hall East. Fleas often live on rats, which congregate in the many heaps of trash that are visible across the city of LA, and are a breeding ground for typhus.

"There are rats in City Hall and City Hall East," Greenwood added. "There are enormous rats and their tails are as long as their bodies."

Last year set a new record for the number of typhus cases — 124 in LA County for the year, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Last October, Mayor Garcetti vowed to clean up piles of garbage throughout the city to combat the typhus epidemic.

The Mayor allocated millions of dollars to increase clean-ups of streets in the Skid Row area, known lately as "the typhus zone."

"The typhus zone"? In Los Angeles? Nearly unbelievable.

But don't fret Angelinos, the mayor has everything under control:

"Last fall we directed multiple City departments to begin a coordinated and comprehensive effort to improve cleanliness and protect public health in the Civic Center, including City Hall and City Hall East. In addition to increased trash collection and cleanings, aggressive action has been taken to address pests both in the buildings and in the surrounding outside areas — including abatement treatments and the filling of 60 rodent burrows and 114 tree wells. This work in busy and highly populated public buildings is executed carefully to protect workers and visitors, and the scheduling of extermination activities takes these factors into consideration." -- Vicki Curry, spokeswoman, city of Los Angeles

They filled 60 rat homes? Pardon me, but just how many rats are we talking about? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? 

Los Angeles has an out of control homeless problem. But the city's failure to deal with it, as well as its inability to perform the simplest task of picking up the damn garbage is making the "City of Angeles" into a "City of Rats."

If you experience technical problems, please write to