In a motion prompted by a recent case of typhoid fever reported in Los Angeles, LA County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger on Friday submitted a motion for next Tuesday’s Board meeting directing the county Department of Public Health to investigate and report back with a countywide communicable disease prevention and intervention plan.
A recent case of typhoid fever was contracted by an LAPD detective assigned to the Central Division located on Skid Row in Downtown LA.
“In the interest of protecting the health and safety of our residents and law enforcement personnel, the county must examine the root causes of the spread of communicable diseases associated with trash and rodent infestations, and develop a comprehensive plan to minimize risk of additional cases,” Barger said.
While there is not presently an outbreak of Typhoid Fever in Los Angeles County, there are other cases that have been reported separately from the case reported by LAPD.
In 2018, the Public Health Department reported 14 cases of typhoid fever and in 2019, has received reports of five cases to date. These cases are almost always travel-related.
All cases are reported to the Department of Public Health, which conducts a thorough investigation of each case.
Typhoid fever is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. Typhoid fever is more common in areas of the world where water may be contaminated with sewage or where sanitation is poor.
Typhoid is typically spread through eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with fecal material from an infected person. The disease is not common in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control estimates that only 350 cases of Typhoid fever occur throughout the country each year.
Barger’s motion directs the Department of Public Health, in coordination with local health departments, city sanitation departments, and other pertinent stakeholders, to develop a countywide communicable disease prevention and intervention plan and report back in 60 days.
The plan would identify areas that are at an elevated risk for disease transmission due to unsanitary conditions, and provide recommendations to mitigate disease transmission risk in these areas.