Polio re-emerges in Venezuela almost 30 years after eradication

Henrietta Strickland
June 13, 2018

It is suspected that these are cases of circulating polio virus (cVDPV) but it has yet to be confirmed.

Polio, which can only be prevented through immunization, has been found again in a Venezuelan child according to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

Delta Amacuro, the state where the case of polio was discovered, is home to the Warao communities, an indigenous group that lives in riverside huts on Venezuela's Orinoco Delta.

Poliomyelitis, known as polio, is a highly infectious viral disease that invades the brain and spinal cord and causes permanent paralysis in a small proportion of patients, according to the World Health Organization.

The last case of acute poliomyelitis reported in Venezuela dates back to 1989, a former health minister, Jose Felix Oletta, told AFP.

Oletta slammed health authorities in President Nicolas Maduro's government for taking more than a month to notify the PAHO that it had identified the virus. Worldwide health regulations require it to do so within 24 hours.

Out of the other 11 countries to have reported Polio cases, Venezuela not only stood at top most position with majority cases but has also recorded 35 death cases due to the disease since mid 2017, said the organisation.

Of the 11 countries that reported cases, Venezuela had the overwhelming majority of cases, but also 35 deaths since mid-2017, the worldwide organization said.

Venezuela says it does not have 85 percent of the basic medical supplies it needs even including vaccines. Maduro's government blames United States sanctions for the woes.

"The government is not approving the money for the vaccines", said Manuela Bolivar, a member of the country's opposition-controlled National Assembly who has looked at the recent rise of infectious diseases.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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