Case of hepatitis A confirmed at Big Sandy Regional Detention Center

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. — Officials with the Johnson County Health Department have confirmed to EKB News that an inmate at Big Sandy Regional Detention Center has tested positive for hepatitis A.

Health Department Director Julie Bush said this morning that the unidentified inmate tested positive for the illness recently, and the case is being reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hepatitis A is a highly-contagious form of hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver. It can produce symptoms ranging from mild to severe and last from weeks to months. However, it rarely causes permanent damage.

A statement released by the jail today explained that the inmate was examined by a nurse last Friday evening, after he began exhibiting signs of jaundice. After the examination, she consulted with a doctor, who ordered that he be transported to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center for testing. He was returned to Big Sandy that night, and the hospital informed the jail the following day that he had tested positive for hepatitis A.

Since that time, the inmate has been kept quarantined in isolation, for treatment and observation.

Four other inmates who had been in close contact with the sick inmate have since received the hepatitis A vaccination as a precaution.

The statement said that the jail will continue to monitor its population for signs of the disease and inform the public of any new developments.

According to state and CDC records, this marks the first case of the disease in the immediate region, although there have been reports in other areas of the state. The illness has been most prevalent in the Louisville and Ashland areas. The nearest case previously had been in Lawrence County.

This is a developing story. EKB News will have more information, as it becomes available.