As news on the inmate outbreak at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, National Capital Region (NCR) continues to be released, a new Phil Star report (computer translated) notes that the culprit is the etiology of bacillary dysentery, Shigella sp.

Shigella image/CDC
Shigella image/CDC

The outbreak that has sickened more than 1200 inmates, hospitalized hundreds and killed two with underlying medical conditions, was previously thought to be due to cholera.

Most Shigella infections are the result of bacteria passing from improperly washed hands from one person to the mouth of another person, often through handling contaminated objects or food. Poor hand washing and hygiene (especially after changing diapers or toileting) increases the risk of infection.

People infected with Shigella may have fever, stomach cramping, and mild or severe diarrhea, often with traces of blood or mucus in the stool. However, some infected people may not show any symptoms at all. Symptoms occur from 1-7 days after exposure, but usually within 1-3 days, and last an average of 4-7 days.