Flu sickens 2 Valley attorneys; concern about flu at jail

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by Tanya Mendis

Bio | Email | Follow: @tanyamendis

azfamily.com

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 3 at 10:29 AM

PHOENIX -- Two Valley attorneys are in the hospital, both with confirmed cases of the flu. The Arizona Health Department confirms that one of those cases is H1N1.

Now, concern is growing about how these attorneys got sick.

"There were concerns about flu at the jail, visiting inmates," says Phoenix attorney Ulises Ferragut. "I am concerned, obviously, for my own health."

3TV took those concerns to the County. But the Maricopa County Department of Health tells us there is no flu outbreak at the jail.

"There's so much flu in the community right now, that in all likelihood, these attorneys got it from outside, in the public, in the community, rather than somewhere in the courtroom," says Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine of the County Health Dept. "That being said, we've been in contact with the county jail, and they're not seeing any unusual numbers of flu cases in the jail system."

Ferragut was not convinced. "Apparently the jail is denying any involvement in this and it's a concern. It's a concern because inmates are being transported to and from court. It's a concern because the general public is being allowed into the jail. And it's a concern because attorneys are going in and out of the jail and are potentially being exposed if that's what's happening."

Some attorneys are so worried about their health and safety, they've asked to wear face masks when visiting inmates. Ferragut says that request was denied.

"As an attorney we deal with a lot of problems, but certainly, this is not one we should be exposed to," says Ferragut.

Some judges are concerned, too. 3TV obtained an internal memo, asking the County Health Department to investigate. But they heard, "There is no indication whatsoever that there is an unusual outbreak of any kind within our jail population."

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