(WSJ) Los Angeles County health officials have asked federal officials for help to contain a worsening tuberculosis outbreak among the homeless in its downtown area.

County health officials here have identified 78 cases of a particular strain of the highly contagious disease in the past five years, resulting in 11 deaths. Of those cases, 60 have been identified as homeless living around Skid Row, making it the “largest outbreak we’ve seen” among the city’s homeless population in a decade, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Dr. Fielding said as many as 4,500 homeless may have been exposed to the disease. Earlier this month, he asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send health officials to Los Angeles to help identify other possible victims. The move to turn to federal officials was first reported by the Los Angeles Times Thursday.

 

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