LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Public health officials are working to contain a persistent outbreak of tuberculosis affecting L.A.’s homeless population.
They want to get a handle on the crisis as quickly as possible, becasue tuberculosis can be deadly if left untreated.
Right now, it’s primarily affecting the homeless population in downtown L.A., and officials have seen the trend continue in the Los Angeles area.
It’s gotten so bad that the Centers for Disease Control has dispatched a team of scientists to L.A. to find out why the disease is spreading and how to stop it.
Since 2007, 11 people have died, but the other concern is the thousands of people who might have been exposed.
That’s because L.A.’s homeless, especially during the colder winter months, are in crowded shelters or huddled together on the streets.
Public health officials say they’re putting all of their resources into containing the outbreak.
The other priority is to track down the estimated 4,500 people who might have already been exposed and get them tested and treated.
Tuberculosis is not transmitted through casual contact like touching or even hugging.
Experts say it is only passed on through inhaling droplets from an infected person when they sneeze, cough or laugh.