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Meningitis quarantine at Castaic jail

Possible case discovered early this week

Posted: May 14, 2009 5:32 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2009 5:39 p.m.
 
A possible case of meningitis in a Pitchess Detention Center inmate prompted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to quarantine about 180 prisoners.

Officials discovered the sick inmate in the South Facility on Monday. They enacted the quarantine and vaccinated others there the next day, said Pitchess Commander Don Rodriguez.

Meningitis is a life-threatening, contagious infection that inflames tissues surrounding the spine. Officials were still awaiting test results Thursday that would determine whether the patient actually has the disease.

"We're waiting to find out what he may have, if anything," said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

He called the action "purely precautionary," and said the facility has been rigorously disinfected.

"We do this from time to time," he said. "This is nothing unusual."

The quarantine affects one of several facilities in the detention center and a fraction of its 1,500 inmates. No other inmates there have shown signs of infection, Rodriguez said.

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