An officer at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Station has contracted typhoid fever and is being treated for the potentially life-threatening disease, officials said Wednesday.
According to the LAPD, a second employee at the station has symptoms consistent with the disease, which is caused by exposure to the bacterium Salmonella Typhi.
A department spokesman declined to say if either of the employees are officers, but the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union for most officers, indicated that a sworn officer had contracted the disease.
A specific diagnosis has not been determined in the case of the second employee, according to the LAPD.
“Our Facilities Management Division is working with the city’s General Services Department to disinfect any work areas that may have been exposed and that work is expected to be completed this evening,” according to an LAPD statement issued Wednesday.
The department’s Central Station is located at 251 E. Sixth St., near Skid Row, in downtown Los Angeles.
“Unfortunately, our police officers often patrol in adverse environments and can be exposed to various dangerous elements,” according to the LAPD. “We have notified the Police Protective League as well as all of our employees working at Central Division, about the outbreak and we have further provided them with strategies to stay healthy while we mitigate this issue.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, typhoid fever is not common in the United States, where about 350 people are diagnosed with the illness each year. Most of those cases involve people who have traveled outside the country.
Symptoms include sustained fever that can reach 104 degrees, weakness, stomach pain, headache, diarrhea or constipation, coughing and loss of appetite. The disease is treated with antibiotics.
Typhoid feveris different from typhus, which can spread to people from infected fleas and their feces.
Health officials in October announced there was a typhus outbreak in Los Angeles County, including in the downtown area of Skid Row, where an estimated 2,000 homeless people sleep.
An employee at City Hall East also came down with typhus.
The LAPPL called the typhoid fever case the latest outbreak affecting its membership in the last two years, which has seen cases of hepatitis A, MRSA, typhus and bed bugs.
“At this point we don’t care who is at fault, we just want these toxic work sites cleaned and sanitized,” according to a statement from the union’s board of directors. “Officers worry enough about being shot or injured policing the streets of Los Angeles; they shouldn’t also have to worry about being infected with diseases they can take home to their families simply by showing up to work. Our demand is simple: Clean it up and provide preventive measures before there is a massive outbreak.”
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