On Tuesday, September 10, a Jefferson County jail inmate was transported to the hospital upon complaining of stomach pain. Yesterday the inmate was diagnosed with hepatitis A. As a result of the diagnosis, the Sheriff’s Office is following public health and WellPath (the jail’s medical services provider) recommendations to prevent spread of the disease.
This morning public health nurses from Jefferson County Public Health are administering post-exposure vaccinations to inmates who may have come into contact with the affected inmate since the inmate was booked into the jail in early August. The inmate is serving a 60 day sentence and is scheduled to be released in late September, but is currently still hospitalized. Detentions staff is also working to identify and contact individuals who have recently been released but may have come into contact with the affected inmate before their release.
According to Jefferson County Public Health, hepatitis A is a rare but highly contagious disease that causes liver infection and is usually transmitted from close, personal contact with an infected person, such as through having sex, caring for someone who is ill, or using drugs with others. The disease can also be spread through contaminated food. Symptoms include low appetite, fatigue, upset stomach, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, joint pain, diarrhea, dark urine or light colored stools, and jaundice. People experiencing these symptoms are encouraged to contact their health care provider. Hepatitis A does not result in chronic infection and most people recover fully in six-eight weeks.
There is a low risk of infection for the general public. Those at greater risk include:
Individuals at higher risk for contracting hepatitis A are encouraged to call the Jefferson County Public Health immunization clinic at 303-239-7078. For more information on hepatitis A, visit www.jeffco.us/2131/Hepatitis.