Polio re-emerges in Venezuela almost 30 years after eradication

Desiree Burns
June 13, 2018

The health organization adds that in a small number of cases, polio can cause paralysis that is often permanent.

According to the organization, the diagnosed child has not been vaccinated and lives in a particularly poor area in Delta Amacuro state.

Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by damage to the gray axis of the spinal cord that affects children. The former Venezuelan Minister of Health claims that President Nicolas Maduro's current health officials took over a month to notify PAHO of the polio case, despite an global rule requiring notice within 24 hours. Global regulations provide for a 24-hour period to notify of the detection of such a case.

Venezuela, devastated by economic and political crises, also accounted for 85 percent of cases of measles reported across Latin America and the Caribbean over the past year, the PAHO said.

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More specifically, "there were eleven countries that reported 1,685 confirmed measles cases across the region", of which 1,427 were in Venezuela, a PAHO report released Saturday found.

In neighbouring countries, where Venezuelans have migrated due to grim economic conditions, numerous reported cases have been among Venezuelan immigrants, the report said.

"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.

Even though the government conducted a vaccination campaign on April 6 to curb 14 disease which includes measles and tuberculosis, the critics say that not a fair amount of vaccines are arriving to meet the demand.

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