DOH: Contaminated water caused diarrhea outbreak in Bilibid

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The diarrhea outbreak at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City that downed 1,212 inmates last week was caused by contaminated water supply, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

Eric Tayag, spokesman for the DOH, said two of the 38 water samples collected from the national penitentiary were contaminated based on laboratory tests.

Tayag said one the inmates tested positive for shigella, a bacteria that can be acquired from contaminated water or food.

Two inmates died due to dehydration and hypovolemic shock.

NBP officials identified them as Virgilio Sabado, 62, and Sabas Lastimoso, 67.

“They manifested symptoms of diarrhea but one of them died because of diabetes complications. The other suffered severe dehydration,”Tayag said.

“They get their drinking water from deep well. Maybe it’s about time to have a safe water system at the NBP,” he added.

At least 70 prisoners remain confined at the NBP Hospital.

The DOH distributed 1,008 bags of intravenous fluid and 50,000 Aquatabs to the inmates.

Tayag said the DOH also provided tablets to disinfect water in the national penitentiary.

Prior to the outbreak, hundreds of inmates suffered from diarrhea after eating “sinigang na bangus” or milkfish at the canteen of the national penitentiary on May 25.

The caterer had denied that the milkfish caused the diarrhea outbreak.       

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