For the first time in Ohio history, a prison inmate has been diagnosed with leprosy, state corrections officials said Thursday.
The inmate, whose name was not released, was diagnosed with the chronic bacterial infection on Tuesday at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
The infected prisoner is a native of Micronesia, a region of islands in the Pacific Ocean, and has served time at three other Ohio prisons since 2011, according to Stuart Hudson, the DRC’s managing director of health care and fiscal operations. …
State officials believe that the inmate contracted leprosy while living in Micronesia, though he didn’t show symptoms until recently, Hudson said. After infection, it can take up to 20 years for signs of the disease to appear, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hudson said he’s not concerned that the inmate will spread the disease to other prisoners or staff, noting that 95 percent of humans have a natural immunity. However, out of caution, prison staffers are working to identify and test other inmates who regularly came within three feet of the afflicted prisoner, according to the DRC.