Resurgence of Medieval Diseases in California Homeless Population

In recent news, the homelessness problem in California has quickly turned into a great threat to public health with the discovery of medieval diseases running rampant through the community. In the past two years, the homeless population in California has skyrocketed and it now amasses to about one-quarter of the entire nation's homeless living in the state's border. One of the most terrifying consequences of this situation is that the state has now seen outbreaks of diseases that have not been around since the middle ages, such as Typhus, Hepatitis A, tuberculosis, and shigellosis. The majority of these diseases are transmitted through contact with infected human feces, lice, fleas, and rats. Public health officials have said that they are seeing an outbreak because of the extremely unsanitary conditions the homeless are living in. The diseases are spread because the places where people eat, sleep, and reside are overcrowded and contaminated with human feces, making the spread of disease extremely easy for those with already weakened immune systems. 

This article brings my attention to two problems: the homelessness crisis and the major threat to public health that these diseases cause. In terms of the first problem, what do you believe should be done to address the growing number of homeless people in the nation and in California? Moreover, it is important to think about how the different conditions of each state contribute to this problem. The homeless population in New York has not seen this outbreak because the majority of their homeless have access to shelters and the climate does not allow them to live outside, unlike California. Other states near California (Washington state, Arizona, New Mexico) have seen these diseases as well. Additionally, the problem of overcrowding contributes to the spread. How can public health officials combat this?

The second problem of the potential public health epidemic that this could cause is extremely important as it is a time-sensitive issue. These diseases are not confined only to the homeless. Diseases can spread very quickly and because the homeless are living in public places, those who are living in the city could contract these illnesses. Once they are introduced to the general population, there is no telling how far they could spread.