An outbreak of skin diseases, including chicken pox, inside the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail prompted the regional health office to order immediate cleaning and sanitation to prevent further spread of the diseases. Hundreds of inmates have been affected in the outbreak.

According to the latest tally of the Department of Health-MIMAROPA Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, 112 inmates contracted chicken pox, while 64 were reported with boils and four with fungal infection. There were also 50 cases of cough and 15 with colds, as of September 6.

Other than inmates, four staff members of the provincial health department also contracted chicken pox following the mass screening for prisoners.

Regional Director Eduardo Janairo ordered the immediate disinfection of affected areas.

“The risk of infection is very high because of the overcrowded cells where inmates are being detained that is why a regular disinfection and sanitation is a must especially now that we have rising cases of chickenpox,” Director Janairo said in a statement. The OMPJ is currently holding 868 detainees.

Serious complications of chickenpox include pneumonia, encephalitis, sepsis, bleeding problems, and dehydration.

The department, in coordination with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)and local government of Oriental Mindoro, conducted misting operations targeted against mosquitoes and other insects. Other areas such as comfort rooms, shower areas and living quarters have likewise been sanitized.  

More importantly, inmates have also received proper medical treatment so that the skin diseases - which are transmitted through direct contact or indirect contact - will not cause more cases.

The department has given the jail management various medications such as amoxicillin, cloxacillin, fungal cream, multivitamins, anti-hypertension, lagundi, mefenamic acid, and betadine to help with the treatment.  

"This will be the start of a series of scheduled sanitation and disinfection of prisons and penitentiaries in MIMAROPA," according to Director Janairo. He stressed that it is only through cleanliness and proper hygiene that people can protect themselves and prevent the spread of diseases. MIMS

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