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Inmates Tested After Hepatitis A Outbreak

Ventura County officials are testing inmates involved in food preparation at two prison facilities after an outbreak of hepatitis A, Sheriff’s Lt. Geoff Dean said Tuesday.

Three inmates were found to have the disease at the county work furlough facility in Camarillo over the past three weeks. Another inmate’s illness was diagnosed at the Todd Road Jail near Santa Paula, Dean said.

Two of the inmates are resting in the prison infirmary at the county’s main jail in Ventura. The other two were healthy enough to return to their usual prison routines, Dean said.

Officials are uncertain how the hepatitis spread, but food is a common means of transmission. One inmate with the infection was a food server at the work furlough facility.

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Ventura County Public Health is working with jail officials to identify the source of contamination and to prevent further cases from developing.

“We are testing kitchen workers and educating them about how the disease can be spread,” Dean said.

Hepatitis A is contagious through body fluids and can incubate for four to six weeks. The first symptoms are nausea, slight fever and flu-like symptoms.


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