----- Original Message ----- 
From: Lucky Lil 
To: PRUP ; Prison News Stories ; Prison News Network ; Patrick Crusade ; Families-of-Inmates ; Families of Prisoners ; Council List 
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 6:40 PM
Subject: [patrickcrusade] FW: [PNN] CA - Inmate infections spreading, officials warn of public health risk

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Sandrine Ageorges []
      Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 3:12 PM
      Subject: [PNN] CA - Inmate infections spreading, officials warn of public health risk

      Inmate infections spreading, officials warn of public health risk 

      The Associated Press 

(Tuesday, January 4, 2005, 12:25 PM)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A highly contagious staph infection sweeping through county jails, infecting at least 4,000 inmates, is now spreading rapidly in the community and officials warn it's a growing threat to public health. 

"We've seen it in hospitals, among sports teams, and physicians report seeing it to an increasing degree in their practices," Dr. Jonathan
E. Fielding, the county's public health officer, said Monday. "It's the same bug we've seen before, but it's a strain that is now resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics." 

The number of county jail inmates infected with the painful skin infection has gone from about 50 cases a month in 2002 to more than 200 a month. More than 4,000 jail cases have been identified since the outbreak began. 

Cases of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus are also increasing in the state prison system. 

"It's a pretty common occurrence. What we've found is that a lot of inmates are coming from the county jails into the prisons with MRSA," said Margot Bach, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections. 

The antibiotic-resistant strain of staph infection begins as a skin condition, evolves into sores that resemble insect bites and progresses
to painful boils and abscesses. It's spread by direct physical contact or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. 

In the past three years, the disease has also infected at least four jailers, as well as a jailer's newborn son. The baby's parents have filed
suit against the Sheriff's Department, claiming their son's health was endangered because of the county's negligence. 

"We are trying to take every measure we can to identify it as early as possible and take remedial measures," said sheriff's Correctional
Services Division chief Chuck Jackson. 

In an attempt to combat the disease, jail officials have trained deputies, required incoming inmates to watch a video on preventing the
disease, increased clean bedding and clothing exchanges and encouraged inmates to take daily showers. 

About 180,000 inmates cycle through the county's jails each year, with the current population of 17,500 inmates changing an average of every 44 days. 

"There is no question people are leaving the jails and spreading it in the community," Fielding said. "Certainly, there have been a lot of
cases in the jails. But we can't say exactly where it started." 


      Information from: (Los Angeles) Daily News,

  • Back