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VIDEO: Strange disease caused by rats hits homeless people in major US cities

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Typhus, a bacterial infection that is sometimes life threatening, is on the rise in Los Angeles and several other U.S. cities. Public health officials say homelessness is making the problem worse and that the disease, which is associated with poverty and poor sanitation, is making a comeback in the United States.

Los Angeles County has seen 64 cases of typhus this year, compared with 53 at the same point last year and double the typical number, with a six-case cluster among the homeless in L.A. this year. Two cities in the county that have separate counts are also seeing higher numbers: Long Beach with 13 cases, up from five last year, and Pasadena with 20, a more than three-fold increase from 2017.

At a clinic in the L.A. neighborhood called Skid Row, Dr. Lisa Abdishoo of Los Angeles Christian Health Centers is on the lookout for symptoms.

“It’s a nonspecific fever,” she said, “body aches, sometimes a headache, sometimes a rash.”

FILE – A homeless man sits at his street-side tent along Interstate 110 along downtown Los Angeles’ skyline, May 10, 2018. Thousands of homeless people sleep on the streets of Los Angeles Count

This kind of typhus is spread by fleas on rats, opossums, or even pets and is known as murine typhus, from the Latin word for “mouse.”

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Homeless Kenyan in Chile appeals for help

The risk is higher when people live on the streets in proximity to garbage, but the disease seems to be spreading through the Southern United States.

Not the typhus of WWI

“It’s never been considered a very common disease,” said Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, “but we seem to see it more frequently. And it seems to be extending across from Southern California all along the Mexican border into southeastern Texas and then into the Gulf Coast in Florida.”

 

Texas had 519 cases last year, said spokeswoman Lara Anton of the Texas Department of State Health Services. That’s more than three times the number in 2010, with clusters in Houston and Galveston. No figures for this year have been released.

This is a separate disease from typhoid fever and is not the epidemic form of typhus that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in war time. That type, called epidemic typhus, is carried by body lice and often spreads in conflict zones. It led to millions of deaths in World War I alone.

Flea-borne typhus, the kind seen in California and Texas, is serious but often clears up on its own and responds to an antibiotic, Abdishoo said.

READ ALSO:   Will 'Ugali man" receive State Commendation too?

“It seems to get better a little faster if you have the treatment,” she said. “But there are cases where people have had more severe complications — it’s rare, but getting meningitis, and even death,” she cautioned.

Migration, urbanization, climate change

The reason for increased typhus numbers is uncertain, but it may be linked to migration, urbanization and climate change, said Hotez, the disease specialist. In some parts of the world, typhus is still linked to war and instability, “in the conflict zones in the Middle East, in North Africa, Central Asia, East Africa, Venezuela, for instance with the political instability there,” he said.

Murine typhus is one of several diseases on the rise in the southern United States, Hotez said.

FILE - Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the Baylor College of Tropical Medicine, shows Associated Press journalists areas of Houston's 5th Ward that may be at high risk for mosquitoes capable of transmitting the Zika virus in Houston.
FILE – Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the Baylor College of Tropical Medicine, shows Associated Press journalists areas of Houston’s 5th Ward that may be at high risk for mosquitoes capable of transmitting the Zika virus in Houston.

“Others include dengue, now emerging in southern Texas and Florida, the Zika virus infection, Chikungunya. We have a huge problem with West Nile virus,” he added, and Chagas disease, a condition usually seen in Latin America.

A report in May from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that such “vector-borne” diseases, transmitted by ticks, fleas or mosquitoes, more than doubled in the United States between 2004 and 2016.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kenyan woman deported from the US after 21 Years now living in squalor in Nairobi

Hotez says they are on the rise in many industrial nations with crowded cities and pockets of poverty.

People line up on Skid Row in Los Angeles to receive food, water, clothing and other basic necessities from Humanitarian Day Muslim volunteers.
People line up on Skid Row in Los Angeles to receive food, water, clothing and other basic necessities from Humanitarian Day Muslim volunteers.

Skid Row physician Abdishoo says flea-borne typhus is still uncommon on the streets of Los Angeles, but “it has us all on high alert for this illness that we don’t necessarily think too much about. We want to be vigilant,” she added, “when you see a communicable disease on the rise.”

Officials in Los Angeles say they are working toward housing for the county’s 53,000 homeless residents to relieve conditions that help give rise

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COVID-19 billionaires whistleblower arrested over abduction claims

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Tables have turned on the KEMSA scandal whistle blower who blew the whistle on the Covid-19 kits scandal.

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations arrested Gordwins Agutu on Wednesday.

His arrest followed accusations that he was part of a gang that impersonated EACC and KRA officials in the abduction of a Nairobi businessman.

In the allegations, Agutu and two other suspects demanded for 2 million Kenyan shillings bribe from the businessman.

“Using two Prados with registration numbers GKB 070B and KCY 280Q, the three suspects; Godwins Otieno Agutu, Alex Mutua Mutuku and Ken Gichovi Kimathi, alongside three others who are still at large, stormed the victim’s offices within Nairobi on September 26, 2020, after which they took his laptop and left,” a statement from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations reads in part.

The DCI pointed out that three days after storming the businessman’s offices, they abducted the victim.

They bundled the businessman into a vehicle bearing government number plates. After doing so, they drove him to Lutheran House along Nyerere road.

“They forced the victim to contact his family members to get the amount. However, they only managed to raise Ksh 500,000. The suspects escorted him to his house at Westlands in Nairobi and took the cash,” the police statement reads in part.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kenyan woman deported from the US after 21 Years now living in squalor in Nairobi

Upon investigations, officers discovered that the said government number plates belonged to a Land Rover Discovery attached to the Judiciary yet they used them on the Toyota Prado.

DCI detectives arrested the three suspects at Lutheran House.

They arraigned them in court where they asked to keep them in custody until they complete investigations.

Speaking in his defense, Mr. Agutu pointed out that he is an anti-corruption crusader.

Agutu serves as the CEO of the Network Action Against Corruption (NAAC).

In a past interview when questioned about is possession of staff IDs from the KRA, DCI and KPPB, he said that he was an undercover investigator.

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Comedian YY reveals why he is still single 

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Churchill show comedian Oliver Otieno alias YY, has revealed why he is still single.

Speaking on Carolina Hot Edition, the comedian said he is single because most ladies want sex before marriage.

He added that he is a strong believer of sex after marriage and that scares most women.

“The season am single is because most women want sex before marriage and me till marriage so they can’t stay” said YY.

Speaking during a past interview, YY vowed not to fall in love again after going through a terrible heartbreak.

“10th January 2018. I opened my heart and fell in love again, even though I vowed to never fall in love after going through a major heartbreak @Eddiebutita ndio nilikuwa nalala kwake juu home ilikuwa moto time ya kuvunjwa roho,” he said.

Asked on whether he has ever come under fire from SDA members over his skits, he said;

“Yes, from a few who think they love God/Jesus more than Us. I am an SDA, so I have the same feeling that they have towards SDA church. So if it’s about protecting the SDA, am also among the members

He also talked on how he handles trolls.

“When you are an artiste or a comedian you have to take charge of your craft. You existed before the fans, so you don’t let fans take charge of what you do.

READ ALSO:   Will 'Ugali man" receive State Commendation too?

“This thing is mutual, and I really appreciate those fans understand that is mutual and they are also benefiting from you. I prefer them to fans who feel entitled that they made you… its only I who understand where I have come with my talent.

“So I have to take full control, I am the only one who can drive myself into depression or drive myself off depression. Kwanza Audience ya Facebook, it na washamba Fulani hapo na tai… they are very bad. So I realized that I have to take full control of my craft,” noted YY.

YY also explained his “death” search on the internet;

“The time when AKA died then people though it was me, so rumours stated going around that YY has died. Lakini Kenyans Nyinyi pia, Kenya were even DMing knowing that I have death. Bro sorry about your death, what happened. Kenyans surely unataka maiti akujibu” said YY the comedian

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Timmy Tdat shows off costly village mansion

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BY KEVIN KOECH

Kenyan musician Timothy Otieno, alias Timmy Tdat has joined the list of Kenyan celebrities who own costly mansions.

On Thursday, October 1, Tdat showed off his almost complete home.

Tdat’s costly house, attracted lots of congratulatory message from his fans, who congratulated him for putting up a village home.

Following the update, the artiste has now joined the growing list of celebrities in Kenya who have built their own houses.

Other celebrities who have shared photos of their house include; Jalang’o, Teddy B Producer, Comedian Oga Obinna, Anthony Ndiema and singer Sudi Boy.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Kenyan woman deported from the US after 21 Years now living in squalor in Nairobi
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