No additional cases of mumps have been detected among detainees and inmates at the Kenosha County Detention Center this week.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department reported last week that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee housed at KCDC had tested positive for the infectious disease on May 30. The department reported last week that a second detainee in the same dorm had contracted the disease.
Since the first detainee showed symptoms of the illness, the people living in the dormitory — which includes both ICE detainees and local jail inmates — have been placed in isolation from the rest of the facility. The two men who tested positive for mumps are being treated in a medical isolation unit. Residents of the dorm and KCDC staff exposed to those inmates have been given the MMR vaccine.
A spokesman for ICE said Tuesday that the department would not give the ages of the men who are ill, the reason for their detention or their country of origin. “For privacy reasons, I’m unable to discuss those details,” Nicole Alberico said in an email.
The residents of the dormitory will remain in isolation until the 25-day incubation period from the last diagnosed case passes without another person contracting the illness. Until then, people living there are not leaving the dorm for court, outdoor recreation or appointments.
Rather than call the isolation a quarantine, ICE is referring to their status as “medically cohorted.”
Mumps is a viral disease spread through direct contact, with outbreaks most likely among people living in close quarters. Americans who receive their childhood vaccinations are protected against the disease through the MMR vaccine. About 80 percent of Kenosha County residents are up-to-date on their MMR vaccines.
People who are vaccinated can still contract the disease, but will experience milder symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Mumps symptoms include fever, body aches and facial swelling which can be severe. While most people who contract mumps recover completely, the disease sometimes has serious complications, especially in adults.
Alberico said ICE detainees receive medical examinations to check for potential signs of illness.
“However, ICE has no way of knowing what viruses a person may have been exposed to before entering the facility,” Alberico said. “ICE strives to ensure people in our care are treated with compassion, and we work to get them back to health as quickly as possible while mitigating the spread of this and all diseases.”
KCDC has been housing ICE detainees for a number of years through a contract with the federal government. “Our daily (ICE) population is between 170 and 190 detainees on an average day,” Sgt. Chris Hannah of the sheriff’s department. He said the total average daily population of the facility, including both local inmates and federal detainees, is 750.
The 2019 Kenosha County’s budget estimated $6.6 million in revenue from federal payments for housing both ICE detainees and inmates from the U.S. Marshals Service. Hannah said the majority of people housed under the federal contract are ICE detainees.
Because ICE detainees sometimes arrive “from countries where communicable diseases are less controlled than in the U.S.,” detainees are medically screened within 24 hours of arrival to a detention facility, according to a statement from ICE.