Medieval Diseases Are Mounting A Comeback, Specialists Say. What Are The Causes?

Typhus, shigellosis, plague — medieval diseases are making a resurgence in the U.S. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Duchin explains what's happening.
A notice alerting the public and homeless who stay nearby that the area around the Los Angeles City Hall will undergo a major cleaning to combat a rat infestation inside the building is posted nearby in Los Angeles on March 1, 2019. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed concern about the rise of typhus in his State of the State address this year, calling it a “medieval disease … in 2019.”

Infectious disease specialists say the problem is real. And it’s not just typhus. It’s also plague — yes, plague — shigellosis and bartonella quintana.

One reason is homelessness,

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