Polio re-emerges in Venezuela almost 30 years after eradication

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A child has been diagnosed with polio in Venezuela, where the infectious viral disease has been eradicated since 1989, according to the Pan American Health Organization, a regional apparatus of the World Health Organization.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, are the only other countries that suffer from endemic polio, a childhood virus that can cause paralysis or death.

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The health organization adds that in a small number of cases, polio can cause paralysis that is often permanent. Part of an indigenous community in Venezuela's northeastern state of Delta Amacuro, the child had not been vaccinated against polio, the statement noted.

"The virus especially affects people in conditions of malnutrition and unvaccinated, as this case", Dr. Jose Felix Oletta said, via Medical Xpress.

He criticized officials in the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for waiting more than a month to notify PAHO. 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.

As per the report, most of the neighbouring states, where people from Venezuela have migrated due to the political and social crisis, have also reported cases of polio among the Venezuelan immigrants.

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.

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