Inmates incarcerated in Oakland County Jail between May 8 and 23 have been advised to contact the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) immediately because they could be infected with Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B and C’s death tolls continue to rise, but Hepatitis A, while highly contagious, can be prevented through vaccination, so health officers urge inmates to get checked and treated immediately.
Hepatitis A Exposure
The health advisory was released on Friday, May 26, after the Health Division confirmed a case of Hepatitis A in a male inmate. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) is not new to detaining inmates with health issues, and protocols were already in place in order to quickly respond to potentially risky health issues.
“We contacted the Health Division for assistance in assuring proper protocols, and efforts were immediately put into action,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
Bouchard says that the areas where the infected inmate stayed have been sanitized, and the office is already contacting people who were potentially exposed to the patient in order to prevent the spread of the disease outside.
“We are focused on combined efforts with the Health Division to ensure all steps are taken to protect the inmate population, our employees, and anyone else who came into contact with this individual,” Sheriff Bouchard said.
The OCHD offers Hepatitis A vaccine at $35, but the office will not turn away those who are unable to pay for a dose.
“Our Pontiac clinic and Nurse on Call phone line will be open until 6:30 p.m. tonight and on Saturday, May 27, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. for vaccinations and to answer any questions related to Hepatitis A,” Health Oakland County Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford said.
Hepatitis A Risks
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus shed in feces which infects the liver of a person. The virus can spread from person to person via contaminated hands.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, fever, dark urine, and vomiting, among others, followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes. It could also lead to liver failure for people with weak immune systems.
It is important for those who are potentially infected to get a vaccine and immediately sanitize areas they frequented to avoid spreading the disease.