Lusignan inmates being vaccinated against chickenpox, infected prisoners isolated and visitation restricted


Currently, there are less than 30 active cases of chickenpox among inmates housed at the Lusignan prison and to prevent further spread of the disease, authorities have commenced vaccination of the remaining of the population at the facility.

“From the prison perspective, I think from the entire situation we are managing it very because to have 1,369 inmates and to have the number of active cases under 30, I think it is exceptional,” officer-in-charge of the Lusignan prison, Deoraj Gyandat said.

During an interview with the News Room on Wednesday, Gyandat explained that the first case of chickenpox was detected at the facility just about one month ago.

This, he said happened although every inmate is subject to a “thorough” medical examination before they enter the prison system.

“…The prisoner basically complained about rash…irritation of the skin and so on and as for normal any prisoner who have medical concerns we refer them to the medical officer and they would have determined it is chickenpox, “Gyandat explained.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said the the chickenpox outbreak has affected 53 prisoners to date. 25 of the cases are active while the remaining 28 are recovering cases.

According to the ministry, the outbreak was likely started by either a prisoner or staff member or a visitor.

Noting the situation is being monitored, the Ministry added that the medical and surveillance teams are presently conducting contact tracing to identify the source of the infection.

According to Gyandat, a series of measures have since been implemented by authorities to address the situation.

Officer-in-charge of the Lusignan prison, Deoraj Gyandat

This includes the establishment of an isolation unit at the facility to house affected inmates and restriction on visitation for their relatives until they recover.

In keeping with protocols, Gyandat told the News Room that once diagnosed with chickenpox, inmates are isolated for 14 days. Thereafter, he said they are placed under a one-week observation before they are reintegrated into the prison’s general population.

“The restriction has to be put in place…they (relatives) are allowed to make drop off, to bring food, self-support, whatever stuff they are allowed to have. All the normal activities except for the visitation.

“It also does not affect the persons who have to attend court. What we try to do, is we try to have tablets…and we have those prisoners to attend their court virtually,” Gyandat explained.

Other preventative measures include daily medical checkups and sanitization.

“It’s a virus. It is spread by way of contact and all of that. Sanitation is key. Even before this period, we went through similar issues during COVID and it is practically the same rigidness as it relates to sanitation we are implying,” he said.

Importantly, Gyandat pointed out that a team of medical personnel was dispatched to the prison to commence vaccination of inmates to protect them from contracting the disease.

The goal, he said is to ensure that each prisoner housed at the Lusignan prison is vaccinated within a short period of time.

“Even though we don’t have chickenpox at the different other locations, we have still started to take prevention in the form of vaccination to ensure that prisoners have that preventative method,” he noted.

Similar measures are imposed for medical personnel and prison officials who are stationed at the facility.

Gyandat assured relatives of the affected inmates that they were receiving the necessary care.

“We the administration of the Guyana Prison Service are fully committed to ensuring that the medical steps are followed to ensure a safe recovery of those inmates.

“We recognised the seriousness of the chickenpox,” he said.

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