Typhus Outbreak May Force Removal of All Carpets at City Hall

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A typhus outbreak in Downtown Los Angeles, has officials considering removing the carpets at City Hall.

The disease flourishes in unsanitary conditions and is often spread by flea-infested rats.

Wesson first became aware of a vermin issue in November 2018, contacted pest control experts and removed all his office's carpets, according to the motion.

The outbreak reportedly included the downtown area that includes Skid Row, where an estimated 2,000 homeless people stay.

After one of his staff members was bitten by a flea late previous year, Wesson closed the entirety of his fourth floor office and had all the rugs removed.

Flea-borne typhus can cause high fever, chills, headache and rashes in people and can be treated with antibiotics.

City County President Herb Wesson submitted a motion Wednesday requesting the city conduct an investigation into the "scope of vermin and pest control issues" in City Hall and its adjoining buildings. The disease can spread in areas where there is an accumulation of trash, but is not transmitted person-to- person, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The motion reported cleanup issues and a noticeable increase in rodents in the area, which could have contributed to the outbreak.

The motion would instruct city staff to report back with a cost estimate and plan to remove all carpets in City Hall and City Hall East, and to report back with an assessment of all live plants in any city building, city-owned facility and city-operated facility within downtown, including which varieties are most attractive to vermin.

He's also pushing for a policy requiring employees to secure their food after hours and for custodians to toss out food that's left out.

Mayor Eric Garcetti's office issued a statement saying that multiple city departments began a coordinated effort to improve cleanliness in Civic Center last fall. 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.

She's refusing to return to work until the building is properly fumigated. Employees have reported seeing rats in several offices and at least two workers say they have been bitten by fleas, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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