Two Butler County Jail inmates diagnosed with Hepatitis A

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Understanding Hepatitis A

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Vaccination procedures underway to protect jail staff, other inmates.

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Two inmates in the Butler County Jail have been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

Hepatitis A is a very contagious liver disease caused by contact with food, drinks or other objects that have been contaminated with even a small amount of feces, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

In June, the state health department announced a statewide outbreak of the illness. The number of cases in Ohio increased from 41 last year to 79 in the first half of 2018, according to the department.

MORE: Hepatitis A outbreak in Ohio: What’s really going on?

Vaccination is the best method of prevention, combined with regular hand washing, according to health officials.

The sheriff’s department, along with the Hamilton City Health Department and the Butler County Board of Health, is taking extra precautions and “immediately began vaccination procedures to protect the other inmates and staff,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

One of the inmates was transported Thursday to a local hospital, where he tested positive for hepatitis A after complaining of abdominal pain and nausea. A second inmate complained of similar issues and was diagnosed a short time later, according to the sheriff’s office.

The inmates are expected to make a full recovery, sheriff’s office officials said.

The symptoms of hepatitis A can range from mild to severe and can last up to several months if left untreated. Some of the warning signs are fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, yellowing of the skin or eyes and clay-colored stool, according to health officials.