MARICOPA COUNTY — Maricopa County jail facilities are experiencing a Hepatitis A outbreak, according to a press statement issued by the the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO).
"The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with partners from Maricopa County Correctional Health Services (CHS) and Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH), have recognized the societal impact of the recent Hepatitis A outbreak," MCSO said in a statement.
According to the press release, the inmate population is being treated with vaccinations in order to "mitigate this issue for the Maricopa County community at large."
“As of August 6th, 4,287 vaccinations have been administered out of our jail this year,” MCSO Sheriff Paul Penzone said. “Our agency, along with our county partners, take this outbreak very seriously to protect our community and keep those patients at the highest risk healthy and safe."
It is unclear when the outbreak began, but MCSO, in collaboration with County partners, have begun offering vaccines to every person booked into MCSO jail facilities who has not already been vaccinated, according to the press statement.
"By focusing efforts on the jail population, we are vaccinating those patients who are at highest risk for acquiring the virus and for spreading the virus within the community when they leave jail," said Grant Philips, Medical Director, Maricopa County Correctional Health Services. "By vaccinating large numbers of individuals with the Hepatitis A vaccine, we hope to make a significant impact on decreasing the infection rate of our patient population and on members of the community in Maricopa county."
Hepatitis A is a contagious, viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Hepatitis A include:
- Sudden nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the upper right side beneath your lower ribs (by your liver)
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- Intense itching