State investigating illness at Holman

Published 9:15 pm Friday, March 13, 2015

Alabama Department of Public Health investigators are trying to determine the cause of an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness in Holman Correctional Facility, as well as illnesses in two other prisons in the Alabama systm.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary McIntyre told it is too early to determine what caused the outbreak at Holman.

“It’s really early and it’s ongoing,” McIntyre said. “We are working with the Alabama Department of Corrections to get stool specimens, food samples and to determine the exact cause and the extent of the outbreak right now.”

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A spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which filed a lawsuit against the state last year challenging conditions and medical care in the prisons, said overcrowding makes the conditions worse.

The public health department is also involved in a tuberculosis investigation at St. Clair Correctional Facility, where one employee tested positive for the illness.

Another gastrointestinal outbreak also recently hit the Hamilton Aged and Infirmed Center last week. Health officials determined that outbreak was caused by norovirus, a gastrointestinal infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea and usually lasts from one to three days, Horton said.

Norovirus infections have also closed public schools in Satsuma and Demopolis recently.