Inmate at congested Manila jail dies after catching flesh-eating disease

flesh-eating disease
This scene of an overcrowded cell at Quezon City Prison is typical of jails across the Philippines. Picture via YouTube.

Investigations are continuing after an inmate of a Manila city jail died after contracting an infectious flesh-eating disease.

An official report today (Wednesday, July 11) revealed that Gerry Baluran succumbed to necrotising fasciitis, an infection that results in the deterioration of the flesh and severe fever. However, despite this infection, the actual cause of his death is yet to be confirmed. 


Senior Inspector Jayrex Bustinera, chief of the facility’s public information office, said: “The cause of death of our inmate is undetermined. The flesh eating bacteria was part of the diagnosis on his medical certificate when he was transferred to the Manila city jail.”

Baluran, who was detained on illegal gambling charges, had “non-healing” wounds on his back and feet when he was brought to the city jail from a police station last Thursday, Bustinera added.

The inmate, he said, was immediately admitted to the jail’s infirmary and did not interact with other detainees.


Baluran was taken to the Jose Reyes Medical Center on Sunday after he fell unconscious. He died before midnight, Bustinera said.

The Manila city jail has 6,029 inmates — more than five times more than its official capacity of 1,100.

Authorities are investigating Baluran’s death, Metro Manila police director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar told DZMM radio.

A Department of Health official said that the flesh-eating disease was liable to spread in jails due to congestion and poor ventilation.

Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo said: “The situation at the jail is very congested, it’s not always cleaned. It is a bacterial contaminant, so when a prisoner wounded, it can be infected with necrotising fasciitis.”

However, he added that the disease was not likely spread widely through the prison population. “It’s not easy to get infected from one person to another. It’s just that the wound should be infected and the bacteria can infect so it does not mean that there is an outbreak or epidemic, but it’s just isolated cases.”

The flesh-eating disease can be treated by removing damaged tissue and a course of intravenous antibiotic treatment.

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