Portland, Oregon – The homeless population in downtown Portland, Oregon is spreading Shigella, a highly contagious bacteria that could potentially lead to a public health emergency. The Portland metro has reported a surge in cases of shigellosis, with at least 218 cases in 2023 and 45 cases in December alone. The majority of these cases have been concentrated in the Old Town area.
Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Teresa Everson has revealed that the infection is being spread through sexual contact among the homeless population. As a result, public health officials are urging the public to be mindful of personal hygiene. The county is offering infected homeless individuals free motel rooms to isolate and mitigate the spread of the disease.
Shigella is typically spread through fecal matter and can result in symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, and vomiting. Despite the efforts to contain the outbreak, the homeless population’s lack of access to proper sanitation facilities makes it challenging to control the spread of the bacteria.
The surge in Shigella cases is viewed as a consequence of permissive left-wing policies that have allowed homelessness to escalate in Portland. In late 2023, the city implemented a new strategy to address homelessness, including a ban on camping in public areas. However, a judge halted the ban from taking effect after activist attorneys representing five homeless individuals sued the city, further exacerbating the crisis.
Similar outbreaks have been reported in other cities, such as Seattle, where cases of shigellosis surged among the homeless population. Navigating the challenges of homelessness, public health, and urban policies is crucial in addressing the spread of infectious diseases among vulnerable communities.
In conclusion, the surge in Shigella cases among the homeless population in downtown Portland, Oregon is a significant public health concern. The lack of access to proper sanitation facilities and the legal challenges to homeless policies have contributed to the spread of the highly contagious bacteria. Efforts to address homelessness and improve public health measures are essential in mitigating the impact of infectious diseases on vulnerable communities.