The news from California is that its many homeless people are using the streets instead of bathrooms and that this has led, unsurprisingly, to a crisis of health and sanitation. Diseases once thought to have been eradicated, or nearly so, are reappearing with troubling frequency. Typhus, for instance.

The disease is spread by fleas which live on rats. The rats have proliferated in the streets of Los Angeles and other California cities where human feces and discarded syringes compose much of the litter. According to the Wall Street Journal, “In Los Angeles County cases of flea-borne typhus more than doubled since 2012, with 109 cases reported last year.”

The California EPA employed rat poison at its offices in Sacramento, because rats had infested the playground at the agency’s headquarters and children were at risk.

This move was met with protests from environmentalists. Really.

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