Three Los Angeles Police Department officers have been infected with a highly contagious staph infection after what a union official says was an encounter with a homeless person at a police station.

The outbreak started sometime within the last week at the LAPD West Valley station in Reseda when officers arrested a transient who was brought to the station. The station has since undergone cleaning of all surfaces to stop the MRSA from spreading.

Steve Gordon of the L.A. Police Protective League was blunt when asked about the problems officers face when dealing with the homeless population. “Our officers are being put in very hazardous conditions, with the addiction to drugs, the homeless encampments, the feces, the needles, everything throughout these encampments,” he told KCAL 9.

MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that can be found on the skin of healthy people, but can cause serious bone and blood infections. A MRSA infection can initially look like a spider bite or pimple, but continues to get infected and can cause a fever. The bacteria is resistant to antibiotics, can spread through direct contact and infected surfaces in crowded places like jails, hospitals, schools and gyms, and in close communities like homeless encampments.

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