Federal inmates in Florida infected with Legionnaires’

January 30, 2020 GMT

MIAMI (AP) — Some inmates at a federal women’s prison in central Florida have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement.

The agency said Wednesday that it is working closely with officials from the Florida Department of Health to investigate the source of the issue at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex’s women’s camp south of Ocala.

At least a dozen inmates have gone to the hospital for treatment, some women in the prison told the Tampa Bay Times. There are 409 inmates at the women’s minimum security camp.

The disease is a type of pneumonia or lung infection caused by breathing in water that contains Legionella bacteria. The disease can cause flu-like symptoms, including coughing, aching muscles and headaches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Women at the camp and their families outside say the deteriorating building made it ripe for a problem, the newspaper reported.

Paul Forkner, 71, told the newspaper his daughter has been emailing him about the prison’s terrible conditions. She wrote about mold in the bathroom and sewage that spills over. Forkner’s daughter said chunks of the ceiling are missing in places and air units are patched up with plastic bags and T-shirts.

“They have neglected this place and our complaints, and now we are literally sitting in an infested area,” she wrote.

Federal prison officials use a comprehensive approach to managing infectious diseases, which includes testing, appropriate treatment, prevention, education, and infection control measures. The agency said staff and inmates have been notified about this situation and the staff is taking necessary precautions.