Since 2007 up until present day, a total of 11 deaths linked to a new strain of TB have been reported in downtown LA.Because of this, health officials now maintain that, although an epidemic is still very much out of the question, this part of the city can be argued to be dealing with an outbreak.
Furthermore, it is being said that, all things considered, this TB outbreak might just be the largest reported throughout the past ten years, and that the homeless people inhabiting this area are the ones first and foremost affected by it.
Given the severity of the threat, federal officials have been asked to report to the area and help employees of the local health department gain control of the situation.
For those unaware, TB is caused by an airborne bacteria and those affected by it manifest symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, fever and night sweats.
Should the disease progress, symptoms such as chest pains and coughing up blood are also likely to occur.
Although it is very much true that, in most cases, TB is curable, the fact remains that, when left untreated, it can translate into the death of those affected by it.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says that, during the following two weeks, several federal officials and investigators are to be sent to downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row, their goal being that of trying to make head and tail of the situation and talking to locals.
According to Daily News, it is believed that a total of 4,650 homeless people might have been exposed to this new TB strain during their stay in this urban area, which is why the country's federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to also get involved in ongoing efforts to sort out the matter at hand.
For the time being, the only good news is that, as health officials explain, the disease is highly unlikely to travel outside downtown LA and begin affecting residents of other urban areas.
As pointed out by Salina Cranor, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “There's a possibility that it can spread, that is true, but right now it's centralized in downtown and will likely stay there.”
Health officials wish to reassure the general public that there is no need for them to go rushing to the nearest hospital they can find, simply because TB is a so-called light bacteria and its spread can easily be dealt with as long as people make sure that indoor areas are well ventilated.
“For instance, they can have people sleep head to foot; keep an eye on those who have been coughing for a long period and showing signs of TB. And the main thing is to ensure proper airflow, from keeping windows open to turning on fans,” specialist Mark Casanova stated.
As far as catching it from another person goes, Mark Casanova wished to emphasize that, “"You'd have to be inside, they'd have to be coughing in your face, and you need to be around them for more than one day to catch the disease.”