Officials in Venezuela have reported an addition fatality among prisoners at Venezuela’s General Penitentiary of Venezuela (PGV) in San Juan de los Morros, bringing the total deaths to seven according to an El-Nacional report (computer translated).

Mycobacterium tuberculosis Image/CDC

This is the seventh person to die from the disease since the prison stopped providing medications. In addition, the prisoners have gone more than 5 days without eating. Relatives congregated the prison with food and medicine in hand; however, the National Guard kept the facility closed to visitors to prevent a mutiny. The military had to use tear gas to disperse the crowd as family members tried to force their way inside.

The PGV holds 11,700 inmates.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.