When Typhoid Stalks The Suburbs Blame The Government

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Top Tier Gear USA

Jefferson County in Alabama is the state’s most populous county and also its poorest. One of the poorest of those poor areas is Birmingham, Jefferson County’s largest city. Here water and sewerage bills have quadrupled in the last 15 years and with combined sewerage and water bills coming in at around $300 a month, this leaves the same amount out of the average social security cheque of $600 a month to cover everything else, food, clothing, and all other utilities. Low paid workers, of which there are many fare no better.

Many people have opted to buy drums of water from petrol stations rather than pay their ever increasing bills. They use these drums of water for drinking, washing and in their portable toilets which can be seen dotting back yards across the area, the modern version of the outhouse. They pay a fee to a sanitation company to remove the waste. It’s cheaper than letting the city take care of it.

Jefferson County is in this position because planned work on the sewerage system was estimated to cost $300m but this bill soared to $3.1bn due to construction problems and a series of bond and derivative deals that went bad in the financial turmoil of 2008. The fact that six officials have been found guilty of corruption is no comfort to the residents there who have no running water or mains sewage. To add insult to injury their bills are set to rise 25% a year for the next three years to ensure the project is completed.

Each year some 400 people in the US are treated for typhoid fever, most have contracted it whilst travelling to the developing world. Although a severely debilitating disease, deaths listing typhoid as the cause are rare in the United States. Most will survive due to good nutrition, a return to clean drinking water and prompt medical attention. Remove any of these things and typhoid could quite easily get a foothold in the southern states. It is highly contagious and easily passed from person to person. Typhoid is only one of many diseases that are spread due to unsanitary conditions including the inability to wash clothing and bedding on a regular basis as is the case with typhus.The day is coming when they wont have the $14 to have a company come and empty their portapotty, when that day comes where will this human waste go? It has to go somewhere and faced with a choice of paying for sanitation or feeding their children many will opt for the latter. It’s a stark choice, removing either from the equation will lead to ill health.Depriving an ever increasing number of residents of water in a large urban area is literally inviting diseases to take hold there. As food prices continue to rise, and are projected to rise even further, the residents of areas such as this face a stark choice regarding how to spend their money. According to community leaders such as Sheila Tyson people are being pushed to the very limit.

The implications for a reduction in the amount of people who have adequate supplies of clean drinking water and reliable sewerage systems extends way beyond a city where corrupt officials and bad planning has forced this onto the people living there.

Each day more and more people are becoming homeless, living in their cars, under bridges or moving to tent communities outside of city areas. All of these people are finding themselves in the same situation as the people of Jefferson County. Like the residents of Jefferson County they are in this situation because the government chooses to ignore the fact that people can no longer afford to live their lives with the basic necessity of clean water. They are there because the government chose to support the bankers instead of the people. These people see their foreclosed homes decaying in front of their eyes, nobody is living in them, no money has been made by the banks selling them on. Whole families forced out for what? So their homes crumble, get demolished and the government takes the land? Who knows ?

What is known is that living in such conditions is an open invitation for disease. Lots of disease. Typhoid has been used as an example, but that is just one of many diseases that routinely surfaces during economic down turns, after natural disasters and in times of war. History is full of such events. Typhoid, typhus, cholera, dysentery, intestinal worms, hepatitis, gastroenteritis and many, many more all arise from contaminated water and/or lack of adequate sewerage.

Its hard to believe that this is happening in the First World in the twenty-first century but it is. It needs to stop and it needs to stop now before many lives are lost to conditions that are rarely seen outside of the developing nations.

Those responsible for the unholy mess that is insidiously enveloping the United States, Europe and the UK should hang their heads in shame, and those officials responsible for so many residents of Jefferson County not having access to running water and sewerage should not only be charged with corruption but with reckless endangerment. The bankers foreclosing on homes that now stand decaying are in the long term going to be partly responsible for the increase in suicides being noted amongst the homeless and those who are pre-empting foreclosure, taking their own lives rather than watch all they have worked for be taken from them.

It’s a sad indication at how woefully inadequate our so called leaders are. How far removed they are from the plight of ordinary families trying to live their lives is blatant. The provision of clean, safe drinking water and adequate sewerage should not be for the wealthy alone. The same men and women who are sending billions in aid to developing nations to help ensure that the people have clean safe water are allowing their own people to live without it.

When typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and the rest are running rampant we will all know who to blame.


Typhoid should not be confused with typhus. Typhus is spread by the faeces of infected lice whereas typhoid is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, which is related to, but not the same as, the salmonella that causes food poisoning.

The Salmonella typhi bacteria are shed in human faeces and poor hand hygiene can lead to the disease being passed on via contaminated surfaces and food. It is possible but uncommon for the bacteria to be shed in urine, and hand hygiene once again can assist in preventing person to person spread.

In areas with poor sanitation and a lack of a secure drinking water source its common for contaminated human waste to get into the water supply and anyone bathing, drinking or washing food in that water, even a good distance away, is going to come into contact with the Salmonella typhi and possibly contract the disease from that contact. Typhoid fever is found throughout the developing world in particular in south and southeast Asia.

In those that suffer from typhoid but do not have medical treatment approximately one in twenty will become a carrier of the disease. They will continue to shed the bacteria in their faces and urine but will show none of the symptoms themselves.

The initial symptoms of typhoid fever occurring during the first week of infection are:

  • a fever that rises gradually eventually settling at 103-104F (39-40C)
  • abdominal pain
  • a dull headache
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • vomiting-more often in children than adults
  • a dry cough
  • quite severe mental confusion, not knowing where you are or whats around you for example
  • a pink skin rash, usually with very few spots, often less than five that are 1-4cm across
  • a feeling of increasing malaise

During the second week of infection:

  • all of the above
  • a swollen abdomen though this may not be blatant
  • a slower heartbeat than usual

During the third week of infection:

  • all of the above
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • physical exhaustion
  • bouts of foul smelling yellow-green watery diarrhoea
  • severe swelling of the abdomen
  • rapid breathing
  • mental deterioration and in some cases psychosis

During the third week 1 in 10 people will develop serious complications such as internal bleeding which can be severe enough to drop the blood pressure to unsustainable levels leading to the death of the patient.


If typhoid fever is diagnosed early, usually taken to mean during the first week of infection most people will be prescribed a 7-14 day course of antibiotics. Some strains have developed resistance to one or more types or classes of antibiotics and therefore combination therapy is often used and this is dependant on where the disease was contracted as different strains respond to different drugs.

During this recovery period rehydration is a top priority and the patient should rest as much as possible and eat small regular meals rather than larger meals less frequently.

Patients diagnosed after the initial week of infection are more than likely going to require hospital treatment. Antibiotics will again be tailored to the strain but will most likely be given IV as will fluids and nutrients.

Regardless of when treatment started about one in twenty people will experience a relapse about a week after the antibiotic therapy is stopped. This second bout is usually much less severe than the first and is of a shorter duration than the original illness. Another course of antibiotics will usually clear the bacteria and ensure no further relapse.

No one who has had treatment for typhoid should handle food until medical tests confirm they have no bacteria left in their system.

No_food : No fast food Stock Photo

Take Care


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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.

Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.

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  • veggimama

    learn to compost human waste (humanure)http://humanurehandbook.com/downloads/Humanure_Handbook_all.pdf
    our sewer systems in this country bleach crap and put it back into the drinking water, wasting drinking water to flush the toilet. there are many other more dangerous diseases associated with raw sewage. this e-book is a helpful and enjoyable read, and may be something we will all be obligated to do soon.
    plus, my hubby always said of food, good or bad, it all turns to s#%t anyway… put your S%*t to use!!! and grow more food! anyone who cringes at this, realise that animal (chicken, fish, bat, cow, horse etc…) waste is the #1 organic fertilizer, and has fertilized the earth since time began. also the added benefit of possible methane gas bladder, and heat!!!! brown gold, not black death.

    • Veggimama

      Composted human waste is not recommended for use in food growing as it takes a high heat for a long time to ensure that bacteria will not be passed from the compost to the food.

      Recent research suggests that some pathogens are not destroyed even after this heat/time exposure. It’s possible for the pathogens to get into the food rather than just on it and therefore even careful cleaning will not get it out.

      With food that will be cooked at very high temperatures this is not always an issue but in fruit and veggies that will be eaten raw its a major problem.

      Please exercise caution before using composted human waste around food.


  • Keith

    I’m a little perturbed that you don’t mention the proper solution. You talk about the problem, and the disease, like any maintstream media source could, but coming from an alternative media source I think you need to do a little more work. Many people from this area and people in other areas with similar problems won’t receive any solutions and instead may be instilled only with anger and fear. The solution is to compost ones own “waste” which turns out to not be waste at all but a very valuable resource. The way to do is readily viewable to anyone with an internet connection. The way to do this is disclosed in a public domain book called the Humanure Handbook. It teaches how to compost human excrement safely. The resultant product is valuable and is certainly all sustainable cultures deal in it. Any culture which ships off their “waste” is not sustainable. We cannot turn food into waste and expect our soils to keep producing. Do the people a favor and teach them how to live safely without Oil and Government assistance. That is a noble goal, not just fear mongering. Nobody needs government support and no body needs oil, we think we do, but we don’t. These people produce a valuable product on a daily basis, that can be used to generate income or food. It does not need to be an expense.

    • Keith

      Please see post to Veggimama.

      Research is ongoing regarding this issue. Just because there’s a book about it does not mean it is safe.

      Daily Sheeple is an excellent alternative media outlet and they did not write this article, I did so any fault is mine not theirs.

      I don’t regard this as fearmongering. I wrote it as I was appalled that a basic human requirement was being denied to a section of the population, I have not seen any mainstream media picking up on this and I felt it was worthy of public attention.

      Some of your comment may have a sound basis but I will make the assumption you still flush your toilet, shipping out your waste as do the rest of us.


  • Just think whooping cough, drug resistant tb, yellow fever and typhoid. Wow, can we get unicef the way we used to send it to other countries when I trick or treated.
    Yes, huge sewer bills are a result of the wonderful free market, and privitization. Loans are taken out,by politicans “to make water clean and sanitary for all.” It seems the loans turn into bonds picked up by the taxpayer. Usually owned by another country or our friends the banks. Tough if you cannot afford it. I
    I am with the people. I would look for cheap bottled. But I would go to walmart or my local gov. building to use the bathroom and they all have small sinks I can bath in.
    Join a gym for showers. Will keep you out of the hospital for infectious diseases. If enough people opt out, the elite will not get rich from us for water usage.

  • Evie,

    I hear what you are saying but these people can barely afford water, I think gym membership may be a little low on their priority list.


  • Pahleese

    Betcha the poor in this town are not paying those outrageous bills–i bet dollars to doughnuts that the government/public is subsidizing a large part of the poor, that is why the bills are so high–because the makers have to pay the bills for the takers, i.e., those who can’t pay their fair share. I’d pack my station wagon and get the heck outta there! Even just farther out and get on septic and a mobile home. You can live wherever you want in America.

  • Pahleese

    That’s one thing I loved out there that you can, as you say live anywhere. Here in the UK you can own aplotof landing he middle of nowhere but cannot build on it without government permission which is rarely granted.

    Take care

  • I know of government subsidies for rent,energy,heat and food but whete are gov handouts for water? That may be why tanks are being transported in.
    The takers are forced to be on welfare because priced are high and jobs were shipped overseas? Not many can afford $300 water bills. That is why we have our own water. But gov. has forced people to hook up to the system or pay sewer bills. So, people who have their own water were forced into being takers by gov who wanted tax money. Geez are people really that clueless?

  • BirminghamResident

    This article if full of incorrect information.

    Jefferson County is not the poorest county in the Alabama–not even close. Bullock County is.

    In fact, Jefferson County is in the top 15% of wealthiest counties in the U.S. rank=459/3143

    Jefferson County contains some of the wealthiest suburbs in the nation.

    Where are your references for claims that people are using outhouses and rain barrels? Outhouses are a violation of local codes because of the obvious public health risk.

    The picture of the underpass is not sourced either. I know of no tent city in Jefferson County like that and I live here.

    Again, what is the lat/long of the picture? I will drive to the location and post a picture.

    Good grief, propaganda is everywhere.