Saturday, March 24, 2018

Homeless in Seattle

I know you will find it hard to believe, but homelessness seems to be an excellent breeding ground for contagious infectious disease. One does not have statistics from the homeless encampments in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but the news from Seattle should concern everyone.

The Seattle Times has the news (via American Digest):

King County public health officials are becoming increasingly concerned about a variety of outbreaks of serious infectious diseases among people who are homeless.

Seattle-King County Public Health is investigating outbreaks of Group A Streptococcusshigella, and a rare group of infections transmitted by body lice among people who are homeless, as well as monitoring a potential outbreak of hepatitis A, a potentially fatal disease that spread in San Diego.

“The fact that we’re seeing multiple, different infections now increasing in the homeless population is an indicator of the sheer increase in the number of homeless people (in King County) and the fact that they’re in crowded conditions with poor hygiene and sanitation,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County.

And also,

At a King County Board of Health meeting Thursday, Dr. John Lynch, medical director of infection prevention and control at Harborview Medical Center, said at least two people have died since January when group A strep, which can be spread through open wounds, become necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria.

It is unclear if those cases were among people who are homeless; case reviews are ongoing. But strep A cases at Harborview nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017, to 219 cases last year, and “almost all are happening among homeless people,” Lynch said.

“It’s incredibly concerning. We’re seeing it on the front lines at Harborview,” said Lynch.

Incredibly concerning, you bet!

Fear not. The home of Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks is mobilizing to attack the problem. Its board of health is going to be giving away free hand-washing kits:

The county board of health passed a resolution Thursday urging more sanitation and hygiene services for unsheltered homeless people. At the meeting, Seattle officials described their efforts to increase toilets, hot water and hand-washing stations at the city’s six sanctioned encampments, and to bring hand-washing kits to the city’s many unsanctioned camps.

But Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw urged more such services. “This is what happens to people if you don’t have places where you can wash, get cleaned up,” she said.

There, that will do it.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if there will come a point that we will reach where we will have to quarantine large sections of the west coast as a hazard to world health? The Left is so locked into certain ideologies that they will lack the wherewithal to contain an ever growing health hazard.

Sam L. said...

Seattle gonna hafta WORK at catching up to Portland's "Keep Portland Weird" vibe.