September 14, 2019
Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500
Inmate tests positive for hepatitis A in the jail
The inmate has been in-custody since mid-August
Boulder, Colo. - On Friday, September 13, jail and public health officials were notified by medical staff that an inmate had tested positive for hepatitis A. The inmate, who’s been in-custody at the jail since mid-August, began feeling sick earlier this week and was seen promptly by a jail doctor. Blood tests were ordered during the inmate's medical appointment on Monday, and jail staff subsequently learned the inmate tested positive for hepatitis A.
The involved inmate was promptly removed from the module he was housed in and has been separated from the rest of the inmate population. Jail officials are working with Boulder County Public Health to provide vaccinations for everyone who had contact with the sick inmate.
So far no other inmates or jail staff have exhibited signs or symptoms of hepatitis A.
Anyone released from the jail on or after August 20 may be at risk for developing the disease. Public health officials are therefore urging anyone released from the jail since August 20 to contact their health care provider, call Boulder County Public Health at 303-413-7500 starting on Monday, or check vaccinefinder.org for a retail location to receive a vaccination. People needing assistance to pay for the vaccination should contact Boulder County Public Health.
The hepatitis A virus is a liver infection that can be prevented with a safe, effective vaccine. Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can cause liver disease lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting months. A hepatitis A outbreak is currently occurring in Colorado; 163 cases have been reported as of September 11, with two-thirds of the infected persons being hospitalized and one death being reported.
Hepatitis A symptoms include yellow skin and eyes, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools. Symptoms develop between two weeks and six weeks after an exposure, and people can spread the virus to others before symptoms appear.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks that are contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from someone ill with the disease. It also spreads through close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill.
Good hygiene is also important in preventing the spread of hepatitis A. In addition to getting vaccinated, people should:
- Wash their hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom and before eating or making food.
- Avoid having sex with anyone who has hepatitis A.
- Avoid sharing towels, toothbrushes, eating utensils, food, drinks, smokes, or drug “works” with others.
Anyone with general questions about hepatitis A can call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English and Spanish. For more information about hepatitis A, visit the CDC website at CDC.gov.
-- END --
Boulder County Public Health
Cmdr. Mike Wagner
Boulder County Sheriff's Office
Public Information Officer