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Prison outbreak

Wade Gibbons

Prison outbreak

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A flu-like epidemic has hit the inmate population at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds in St Philip.
The situation has been deemed so serious, official sources told the Daily Nation yesterday, that prison authorities have been forced to quarantine 60-odd inmates in at least two buildings, as well as the medical unit, to control the virus.
The sources said affected prisoners had been placed on a daily Vitamin C regimen, and indicated that the virus had also affected warders, some of whom were on sick leave.
The sources, however, stopped short of saying the illnesses were dengue-related.
To ensure the virus is contained behind the prison walls, precautions have been taken concerning family visits and prisoners travelling across the country for court appearances.
Yesterday, Dodds public relations officer John Lythcott confirmed there was a health issue at the prisons. He said some prisoners had “flu-like symptoms” but that the public could be assured everything was under control.
Lythcott said it was not expected that the outbreak would generally affect visits to the prisons or compromise prisoners’ appearances in court.
The rainy season has brought with it an upsurge in people contracting the flu, including the deadly dengue virus. There have been at least three reported deaths from dengue over the past three months.
The Ministry of Health, through its Vector Control Unit, has stepped up its public awareness programme on the keeping of sanitary premises, eradication of mosquito breeding spots and identification of the dengue virus.
The Ministry of Health has also increased its fogging schedules throughout the island.