Friday, November 15, 2013

Suspected case of Hepatitis A prompts cancellation of some visiting at Pocatello prison

The Idaho Department of Correction has suspended visiting for 90 inmates assigned to Unit 2 at Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center (PWCC) after an inmate who was incarcerated there tested positive for active Hepatitis A.

The inmate arrived at PWCC on Oct. 31. Out of an abundance of caution, IDOC has also suspended all inmate moves into and out of PWCC for at least two weeks while health care providers watch for more possible cases.

While the risk of infection is low, Unit 2 inmates will be receiving Hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin as a precaution.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A can affect anyone.

Hepatitis A virus is usually spread by eating or drinking food items that have been contaminated with hepatitis A from someone who has not properly washed their hands after using the bathroom.

Symptoms usually occur abruptly and may include:

• Fever

• Loss of appetite

• Abdominal discomfort

• Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

• Tiredness

• Nausea

• Dark urine

Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation can help prevent hepatitis A. Outbreaks of hepatitis A are relatively uncommon in the United States; however, when they occur, public health efforts are required to control the spread of the disease.

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