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Suit alleges poor hepatitis C care

California prison officials are failing to adequately treat an outbreak of hepatitis C that has infected thousands of inmates, a federal class-action lawsuit alleged Tuesday.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles on behalf of inmates including Kevin Jackson, who is at the California State Prison at Solano and alleges that he has not received proper treatment since being diagnosed with the disease in August 2007.

Up to 40% of the 171,000 inmates in state prisons may be infected with hepatitis C, said Shawn Khorrami, an attorney for Jackson.

The lawsuit alleges that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is wrongly excluding thousands of inmates from liver biopsies and antiviral treatments and allowing their diseases to progress to more advanced stages of liver damage.

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