ABINGDON, Va. — Two inmates at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority’s Abingdon facility recently tested positive for hepatitis A.
Jail officials notified the health department, and the infected inmates were quarantined, Dwayne Lockhart, assistant superintendent with the authority, said Monday. Vaccines are now being administered to inmates who had been in areas near the two confirmed cases. Officials believe an inmate transferred from another state brought in the virus, Lockhart said.
Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver. Symptoms include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A person can contract the virus by consuming something contaminated by an infected person’s feces or putting their hands in their mouth after touching a contaminated surface. Sexual activity and behaviors associated with injection drug use are other ways the virus is transmitted.
Infected people usually recover after feeling sick for several weeks, but hepatitis A can cause liver failure in rare cases, according to the CDC.