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Published On: Wed, Nov 13th, 2013

Pocatello prison inmate test positive for hepatitis A, visitation suspended

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

Hepatitis A Image/CDC

Hepatitis A
Image/CDC

The inmate arrived at PWCC on October 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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A is a contagious liver diseasethat results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter,even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.

Hepatitis A also can be spread through contaminated food or water. This most often occurs in countries where Hepatitis A is common, especially if personal hygiene or sanitary conditions are poor. Contamination of food can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking.

Not everyone has symptoms. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after becoming infected and can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and jaundice.

There is no specific treatment once symptoms appear, but a vaccination can help lessen the effects of the disease if given within 14 days of exposure.

A vaccine is currently available and routinely recommended for all children ages 12 to 23 months. Hepatitis A vaccine is required for child care entry in North Dakota. The vaccine is also available for anyone who wants to be protected from hepatitis A. Hepatitis A vaccine is often recommended prior totraveling outside of the United States. The vaccine is given as two doses over a six month time period. People who have been appropriately vaccinated are considered immune to hepatitis A.

The best way to control the spread of hepatitis A and many other illnesses is through proper hand washing, especially after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food. Hand washing should include 20 seconds of vigorous soaping of all parts of the hands, especially between fingers and under fingernails.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

 

About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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