Once thought to be eradicated, a new case of Dossing Sweeper Disease (DSD) has been diagnosed in the Flaxman Terrace area.
Sweepers have been advised to avoid the area around Flaxman Terrace as it emerged that a new case of the highly infectious Dossing Sweeper Disease (DSD) has been diagnosed in the area.
Following a severe outbreak of the disease during the summer of 2019, it was thought that all affected sweepers had made a full recovery.
But symptoms of the disease were recognised by an unnamed individual who has conducted research into the causes and treatment of the disease.
A significant quantity of litter was observed on Flaxman Terrace and the surrounding streets. An eye-witness reported that a new sweeper was seen walking past the litter with an empty sweeper trolley, at around 10am on 28th June.
It is thought that as the sweeper is new to the area, who is reported as ‘young, male, with short hair’, he has no immunity to the disease. It could therefore have been contracted from litter remaining from last summer’s outbreak or earlier.
Another eye-witness reported that the litter currently remains in the area unswept, and an empty sweeper trolley was found abandoned by its sweeper.
While it is thought that the trolley has been abandoned by the affected individual, it is also possible that a different sweeper fled the scene after recognising signs of the disease.
All sweepers have been advised to avoid the area while the contaminated sweeper trolley is disinfected and the missing sweeper tracked down.
Members of the public have been advised to remain calm as the disease only affects Veolia sweepers working for the London Borough of Camden. They have been asked to report a wandering sweeper with no trolley to the authorities, but to keep a safe distance.
What is Dossing Sweeper Disease?
Dossing Sweeper Disease (DSD) is a highly infectious disease, with confirmed cases only in Veolia sweepers working for the London Borough of Camden. While the origins of the disease remain mysterious, some accounts refer to possible observations of the symptoms from as early as 2012.
The first sign of the disease is a symptom known as litter-blindness. This causes sweepers to gradually develop an inability to accurately detect litter on the streets. In the early stages of the disease sweepers are unable to detect small items of litter, but as the disease progresses sweepers are eventually unable to see litter of any kind or quantity.
Survivors of the disease report spending weeks without seeing a single item of litter.
Recent research done by the Institute of Dossing Sweepers (trade name ‘Veolia’) has suggested that litter-blindness is the cause of reports on Clean Camden being falsely marked as complete. Studies conducted on sweepers affected by the disease reveal that they are on average 45,471 times more likely to mark a Clean Camden report as complete without attending to the work.
Studies also revealed that sufferers of the disease are not only unable to identify litter on the streets but are also unable to identify litter in photos. This has been suggested as the cause of sweepers marking Clean Camden reports as complete without even attending the site reported.
The observation of a new sweeper on Flaxman Terrace walking past swathes of litter all but confirms that he is suffering from the disease. It is likely that despite walking through the area daily, he has been unable to see any litter for a number of weeks, explaining the accumulation.
If left untreated symptoms can become more debilitating.
A later stage of the disease results in a number of symptoms collectively termed ‘dossing’. The most prominent of these are a sense of lethargy, loss of sense of direction, and an overwhelming urge to abandon the sweeper trolley and attend public houses. Sweepers in this stage of the disease are often found sitting around picking their noses and playing games on their phones for extended periods of time, which led to the adoption of the term ‘Dossing Sweeper Disease’.
But the Institute of Dossing Sweepers say this term is Victorian and has led to unnecessary stigmatisation of individuals suffering from the disease.
‘We should be sympathetic towards those suffering from symptoms associated with ‘dossing” said a spokesperson from the Institute of Dossing Sweepers, ‘those that try to confront ‘dossing’ sweepers for poor work only make matters worse. Our research has shown that complaining about ‘dossing’ sweepers makes the disease more likely to spread and the symptoms more severe… we should celebrate piles of litter as a poignant reminder of the suffering that sweepers go through when they are overwhelmed by the compulsion to ‘doss’.’
But a number of conspiracy theories relating to the disease have further contributed to the stigmatisation of Dossing Sweepers Disease. A local resident stated: ‘Dossing Sweeping Disease is just a buzzword, it’s not real. If it’s so infectious, then how come only sweepers working for Veolia in Camden get it? And, loads of people say that people who are apparently ‘cured’ still doss around. It’s fake. It’s just lazy sweepers who can’t be arsed and the Institute of Dossing Sweepers is part of the Deep State.’
The Institute of Dossing Sweepers responded: ‘People who question whether Dossing Sweeper Disease exists lack a basic understanding of proven science. It’s understandable that during this uncertain time sweepers are commonly seen not sweeping. Coming into contact with litter can spread the disease, so precautions have been put in place to ensure a maximum quota of litter that sweepers can sweep. While this varies from place to place, we do expect sweepers to undertake a minimum of at least ten minutes sweeping daily.’
For reasons yet unknown, those who suffer from the disease are drawn to seek out other sufferers, who then collectively engage in behaviour associated with ‘dossing’. The Institute of Dossing Sweepers say this is the cause of sweepers congregating during working hours, and is the primary means of spreading the disease.
It is reported by survivors that the urge to engage in ‘dossing’ behaviour can be so strong that they forced to abandon their trolleys and visit public houses if no other sufferers can be found. It is postulated that the disease has evolved to encourage this behaviour so that it can more effectively be spread between different hosts.
The observation of an abandoned sweeper trolley on Flaxman Terrace indicates the sweeper has reached the stage of the disease associated with ‘dossing’, and may be seeking out other sufferers or could be found in a nearby public house.
A Camden officer has been alerted to the situation and has requested that the Institute of Dossing Sweepers escalate the issue and investigate the whereabouts of the affected sweeper.
What Happens Now?
After a severe outbreak of Dossing Sweeper Disease in the summer of 2019, measures were taken to cure the sufferers and ensure that all contaminated material would be incinerated.
A new officer was brought in to oversee the rehabilitation of the sweeping service, and the fleet of sweepers appear to have made a full recovery.
However that officer is currently on leave until the 14th of July, and it is thought that the new sweeper had not been adequately briefed on the dangers of the disease and its means of infection. The disease can survive on items of litter for extended periods of time, so it is likely that the new sweeper came into contact with litter from the summer of 2019 or earlier while undertaking his duties.
Camden officers are working to halt the spread of the disease and cure the affected individual.
A spokesperson for the Institute of Dossing Sweepers said:
We are saddened to learn that a new case of Dossing Sweeper Disease has been diagnosed in the Bloomsbury area.
This has historically been a hotspot of the disease but has a proven record of effective clinical intervention.
During this difficult time we would ask the community to take pity upon the sweeper and not to make any complaints of wrongdoing or take any photos. The symptoms associated with ‘dossing’ can be very distressing for a sweeper and allegations of poor work will only lead to further confusion and possibly escalate the condition.
Our thoughts are with the afflicted individual and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Camden has pledged a full investigation into the events leading up to the fresh outbreak of DSD.