The Seattle Times reported Friday that Seattle-King County Public Health is investigating outbreaks of several diseases among people who are homeless, including hepatitis A, shigella and infections spread by body lice.
The increase in infections correlates to the increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness, crowded conditions and lack of access to hygiene and sanitation services.
The story comes at a time where advocates to end homelessness are fighting to maintain hygiene services. Funding to several centers was cut after the Human Services Department bid out $34 million for homeless services, prioritizing programs that funnel people directly into housing. The City Council restored the money after advocates swamped a special meeting called by Councilmember Kshama Sawant.
An outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego cost the lives of 20 homeless people before officials declared an emergency and mobilized resources to construct three large tents to get 700 people off of the street and supply them with hygiene services.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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