Polio Returns To Venezuela 30 Years After Last Known Case, Report Says


Polio has reportedly made a comeback in the crisis-wracked country, Venezuela after almost 30 years, as per the Pan-American Health Organisation.

The Pan American Health Organisation confirms a vaccine derived case of polio has been detected in Venezuela.

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.

Doctor Jose Felix Oletta, a former Minister of Health, told AFP that the last case of acute poliomyelitis in Venezuela was reported in 1989.

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 regulations provide for a 24-hour period to notify of the detection of such a case. A staggering 85 percent of measles cases reported across all of Latin America and the Caribbean have come from Venezuela.

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

Of 1,685 measles cases reported in the region, 1,427 have been registered in Venezuela, says PAHO in a report released Saturday.

The diagnosis comes as Venezuela, with an estimated population of 31.3 million, experiences political and economic turmoil, resulting in a humanitarian and health care crisis. Maduro's government blames USA 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.