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Pinellas jail inmate tests positive for hepatitis A, says Sheriff's Office

LARGO — A Pinellas County jail inmate has tested positive for hepatitis A, officials said.

The inmate was isolated in a cell for medical treatment of the contagious disease, said Pinellas sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Gross. Jail staff also tested another inmate who showed symptoms of the virus but test results came back negative.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tampa Bay is ground zero for Florida's growing hepatitis A problem

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is working with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County to examine the case. Gross said the department confirmed it was contracted outside the jail. A health department spokesperson declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality rules regarding disease investigations.

Together, the jail and health department have administered more than 2,700 vaccinations to inmates, Gross said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination

The Tampa Bay area has become the epicenter for a drastic spike in Hepatitis A cases in Florida. In 2017, Pinellas County had zero cases. That number jumped to 113 in 2018 and 325 so far this year.

Contact Kathryn Varn at kvarn@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.

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