By Mark Ellis –
Rats feeding on trash generated by homeless tent cities will lead to a public health crisis that sweeps Southern California in the coming months, one doctor predicts.
“We have tens and tens of thousands of people living in tents. Horrible conditions. Sanitation. Rats have taken over the city,” Dr. Drew Pinsky told Fox News Radio. “We’re the only city in the country, Los Angeles, without a rodent control program.
In the Middle Ages, at least 75 million died in Europe as a result of plague carried by fleas living on rats.
“We have multiple rodent-borne, flea-borne illnesses, plague, typhus. We’re gonna have louse-borne illness,” he told Fox.
Then Dr. Pinsky made a startling forecast.
“I want to give you a prediction here. There will be a major infectious disease epidemic this summer in Los Angeles.”
Dr. Pinsky compared local politicians to the emperor Nero in Rome, who is said to have “fiddled” while Rome burned.
“If measles breaks into that population, we have tuberculosis exploding. Literally, our politicians are like Nero. It’s worse than Nero,” Pinsky said.
As garbage piles up around tent cities, so do the rats, driving fears about flea-borne typhus.
“It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Pinsky said. “I feel like I’m on a train track waving at the train and the train is going to go off the bridge. The bridge is out.”
Dr. Pinsky believes politicians should be held accountable for their reckless negligence.
The key to containing any outbreak of plague lies in prompt treatment with antibiotics, which can reduce death rates from 60 to 15 per cent, but there are concerns the bacterium may be developing resistance to antibiotics.
A 2007 study, published in PLoS ONE, found that the drug-resistance genes in a plague bacterium were the same as those in many common bacteria and are able to ‘jump’ from bacteria to bacteria.
The researchers say this demonstrates the ease with which the bacterium causing plague can develop resistance to antibiotics.
In 1995, a new multi-drug-resistant form of plague bacterium was found in a 16-year-old boy in Madagascar. The strain had developed resistance to eight antibiotics.
One case of a drug-resistant form of the bacterium was found in Madagascar in 2014. In October 2017 the deadliest outbreak of the plague in modern times hit Madagascar, killing 170 people and infecting thousands, according to the Wall Street Journal.