Inmate visiting will be impacted at Men’s Central Jail between Thursday, October 31 and Sunday, November 3, after several inmates were diagnosed with the mumps virus.
Currently, 390 inmates are quarantined and being monitored by medical personnel from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services-Correctional Health Services and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Scheduled inmate releases were not impacted. Sheriff’s personnel are working with the Superior Court of California-County of Los Angeles to minimize the impact on court proceedings for those who were quarantined. Inmates still have access to contact their attorneys.
The observation and monitoring of symptoms began Tuesday, October 22, 2019, when at least one inmate, unknowingly infected with the mumps virus, was housed at Men’s Central Jail. While housed, they exhibited signs of illness, displayed symptoms similar to influenza and had swollen glands around the neck. Correctional Health Services staff diagnosed these symptoms as the mumps.
Since the onset, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Correctional Health Services, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have been working diligently to identify if other inmates or staff were infected and treat those who display symptoms.
As of Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 18 inmates tested positive for mumps; 390 inmates were quarantined and are being monitored to see if they display symptoms, and 350 of those inmates received the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination.
The virus appears to have originated on the 9000 floor of the facility, and the source of it is still under investigation. The 4500, 4600 and 9000 housing areas are under order of quarantine for observation, and the confirmed, active cases are housed in the medical ward, located on the 7000 floor.
No other Los Angeles County jail facilities were affected.
As a preventative measure, more than 200 sworn and civilian staff members assigned to Men’s Central Jail were also vaccinated. So far, three Department members are under medical observation.
Sworn and civilian staff members working with the quarantined population were provided with protective facial masks that cover the nose and mouth. Inmates in the affected areas were also provided with masks.
The quarantine and monitoring procedures will remain in place. Vaccinations will continue to be offered to all staff and inmates who may have been affected until Correctional Health Services determines it is safe to return to normal operations. Specific release protocols are also in place for inmates housed in the quarantined housing areas who are scheduled for release. They are contacted by the Department of Public Health prior to release and will be monitored by them after they leave custody.
To identify if your loved one is housed in a quarantined area, please visit www.lasd.org and click the inmate locator button found near the bottom of the page. If you wish to visit your loved one between Thursday, October 31, 2019, and Sunday, November 3, 2019, please check the website ahead of time to confirm they are not housed in the 4500 or 4600 housing areas, or on the 7000 or 9000 floor of Men’s Central Jail.
According to the Department of Public Health, mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus.
The virus is spread through respiratory droplets dispersed within a three-foot radius. Symptoms usually occur 16 to 25 days after exposure and include swollen glands, fever, muscle aches, headache, and fatigue.
Immunity to the mumps vaccine wanes over time, therefore, some people may still be vulnerable to contracting the virus, especially in closely-contained areas.
The best protection is prevention. The MMR vaccine is quite effective in decreasing the likelihood of getting the virus. If members of the public have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with the mumps, it is recommended they get a booster of the MMR vaccine.
For more information on the mumps virus, click here.