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Prison server accused of spitting in food

HEMPFIELD, Pa., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania prison inmate with hepatitis C is accused of spitting into food served to guards and staff at Westmoreland County Prison, officials said.

District Attorney John Peck said the inmate worked as a food server to employees who take meals in the prison during work shifts, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Wednesday.

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Prison informants last month told jail officials the inmate had spit and blown his nose into food. The inmate later tested positive for hepatitis C.

The hepatitis C virus is transferred through an exchange of blood, not through sneezing, coughing, food, water or casual contact, health officials said. County officials, however, say they're considering having jail staffers tested for the virus.

"It's best to err on the side of caution," Sheriff Jonathan Held said.

The accused inmate has been in solitary confinement since the allegations were raised, the newspaper said.

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