Nearly 400 inmates have been quarantined after a mumps outbreak at Men’s Central Jail, authorities said.
The outbreak has infected 18 people in the jail since Oct. 22, when at least one inmate unaware he was infected with the virus was housed at the jail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the lockup. The inmate showed flu-like symptoms and had swollen glands around his neck.
Authorities are still investigating the source of the outbreak, which originated on the third floor of the jail in downtown Los Angeles. Inmates on that floor and the second floor are being quarantined. Inmates who are infected with the virus are being housed in the medical ward.
The inmates will be quarantined until at least Nov. 21, a date that may be extended if new cases are diagnosed.
“We’re taking it day by day,” said Capt. Jason Wolak, who oversees operations at the jail.
Since the outbreak, about 350 of the quarantined inmates and 200 jail staff members have been vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella. Three staff members are under medical observation, though it’s unclear if any are infected.
Through mid-October, there were 2,618 reported mumps infections nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus can be transmitted through physical contact, sharing drinks and utensils, or touching surfaces that have also been touched by someone infected.
Although quarantined inmates can’t attend court proceedings, they still can have contact with their attorneys, the Sheriff’s Department said.