Home > Uncategorized > BREAKING NEWS: Skid Row residents react to news of TB outbreak in Skid Row

BREAKING NEWS: Skid Row residents react to news of TB outbreak in Skid Row

Skid Row TB epidemic is ‘alarming,’ but the community is well-versed in disease


February 25, 2013

To Skid Row,

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES– It is apparent that a TB outbreak (tuberculosis) is not only amongst us, but has already begun a deadly spread throughout Skid Row and possibly beyond, to more of Downtown LA. Seeing that many of our community members frequently travel outside of Skid Row to places in Downtown LA such as Central Public Library, Pershing Square, LA Live and many others, there SHOULD BE an imminent concern throughout ALL of Downtown Los Angeles regarding said TB outbreak. in other words, this is not just a Skid Row matter, this is a Downtown LA matter.

In fact, just today, LAPD command urged all officers working in Skid Row (Central Division) to wear masks which would help to prevent a TB spread throughout their Department. But what about the citizen’s that live here? Isn’t LAPD supposed to be sworn to “protect and serve” us? Who (as in what governmental agency), then, is supposed to protect “we, the people” of Skid Row? Where are our masks? Where are our gloves? Where is our detailed information??!!!!!

Without having been contacted by ANY of the City of Los Angeles’ nor County of Los Angeles’ public health officials, as the Skid Row resident director on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, I took it upon myself to quickly act on our behalf.

I contacted Dr. Diane Woods, a true friend to the Skid Row community, who last year conducted a statewide report about mental illness in Skid Row. (below is the direct correspondence from Dr. Woods regarding said TB outbreak)
Greetings General Jeff, (From Dr. Woods)

In follow-up with our conversation related to what to do about the announced Downtown LA TB outbreak, I called the LA Department of Public Health Public Information Office. I was referred to Mable Aragon, the contact person related to this TB outbreak. She stated that a contact from her office will call you to discuss the TB outbreak and what the Department of PH is doing. Her phone number is (213) 989-7183.
I have also attached a TB FACT sheet from the CDC  with general information that would be helpful to share with Skid Row residents.
It appears from the information shared in the news articles, there are “NEW” highly contagious TB cases in Skid Row (over 60 cases). This is a serious concern and residents must be protected.
When the health department representative calls, please ask the following questions:
1. Where in Skid Row are the cases?
2. What is the plan for screening to identify more cases?
3. What protection needs to be initiated so there is no additional spread of TB?
4. What is the Health Department doing to protect the Skid Row residents from the TB outbreak?
In a situation of this manner, the standard protocol is to conduct screening to identify who has been exposed and to identify active cases. Active TB cases must be treated with MEDICATION.  Also, in situations where you have individuals in close contact with each other a “mask” needs to be worn to reduce spread and overt new contamination. TB is spread through the air. So, coughing, sneezing, and breathing in respiratory discharge from individuals that are infected with the TB germ must be minimized. The TB germs in expectorated excreta can live on surfaces and be transmitted to individuals where they become infected.  TB can spread rapidly and can cause death if not brought under control. Anyone is subject to becoming infected, but individuals in poor health, pregnant women, HIV+, and those with chronic illnesses and immune system problems are at high risk for contacting TB. Of particular concern is that Skid Row residents are mobile, so containment of active TB would be extremely challenging. The Department of Public Health has a major plan in operation and will discuss how they plan to control the spread.
I am very concerned about all of you in Skid Row. I hope the information is helpful. The residents in Skid Row need to be very careful with this “NEW” outbreak.  I hope the Department of Public Health will contact you real soon to follow-up.
Be careful.

Lastly, please know that any and all information I receive regarding this TB outbreak will be immediately shared with you all!!!!


Until then, be safe AND smart!



Positive energy to us all,


General Jeff
Skid Row community activist-

(3-Term) Resident Director- Central City East/ Skid Row
Board of Directors
Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (2008-Present)
Former VP, Outreach and Communications (2011-2012)


Co-Chair- Skid Row Community Advisory Board for the
Department of Mental Health (2012-2013)

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