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Boulder inmate diagnosed with hepatitis A, officials say

Posted at 10:15 AM, Sep 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-14 12:15:42-04

BOULDER, Colo. – A Boulder jail inmate has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, and officials are working to provide vaccinations for inmates who may have come in contact with the patient.

Officials were notified by medical staff about the diagnosis on Friday, according to the sheriff's office.

The inmate has been in custody since mid-August and began feeling sick earlier this week.

No other inmates or jail staff have shown signs or symptoms of hepatitis A, but anyone released from the jail on or after Aug. 20 might be at risk and should contact their doctor, the sheriff's office said.

An outbreak of hepatitis A started in Colorado last October, and at least 163 people have been diagnosed with the virus. This week, the first death from the virus was reported in Denver, health officials said.

Hepatitis A, which is a disease of the liver, is preventable via vaccine. It spreads through fecal-oral contamination, sharing drugs and equipment, or intimate contact with a sick individual.

Officials have said that risk factors include less access to preventative health care, poor nutrition and crowded living conditions, including homelessness and incarceration.

Symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes)
  • Nausea
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain

Denver Health said washing your hands with soap and water after using the restroom and before handling food can reduce the risk of transmission.

Children generally have a low risk of hepatitis A because the vaccine has been part of the standard childhood immunizations for more than 10 years. Adults who are unvaccinated are encouraged to talk to their health care provider about getting the vaccine.