Mountains of rat-infested uncollected garbage are piling up in Los Angeles and experts are afraid that they may spur on an epidemic of disease that could have been prevented.

The trash has been abandoned by the city and attracts rats which can carry fleas that spread diseases like Typhus.

A report from NBC4-Los Angeles found that the business owners and residents are angry at the city for allowing the garbage to worsen and threaten their health.

“I can’t walk down the street without thinking that a flea could jump on me,” said Estela Lopez, a local business leader.

One study found that Los Angeles is the second most rat-infested city in the country, with New York lagging behind in third place, but Chicago coming out on top with a first place finish.

“Trash and food waste attracts rats,” said UCLA infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Klausner. “It does pose a public health risk.”

NBC reporters said they spoke to the Mayor Gil Garcetti about the garbage in October 2018, and it was cleared away by the city. But after that initial clean-up, the garbage has begun to collect once again.

Klausner said that the rat and garbage problem in Los Angeles ranked among the worst he’s seen in the third world.

Celebrity Doctor Drew Pinksy predicted in 2018 that Los Angeles was headed towards a typhus epidemic and even a plague. He added that there would likely be a panic with officials killing wild animals to

“It’ll be a big panic, when they should be doing something right now!” he said. “But they won’t, they’ll wait ’til the panic.”

The mayor declined to be interviewed by the news team for the follow up report.

Here’s the report from NBC in Los Angeles:

Rotting Trash in Los Angeles | NBCLA

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