AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Epidemic of diphtheria after 24 years, a result of the economic crisis

Thursday, 15 December 2016 healthcare  


Ciudad Guayana (Agenzia Fides) - Since September 28 the main hospital in Ciudad Guayana, in eastern Venezuela, has been admitting among pediatric emergencies only possible cases of diphtheria, a disease that reappeared in the country after 24 years. The economic crisis is also reflected in hospitals and in the lack of medicines. The symptoms of diphtheria are similar to those of flu or tonsillitis: respiratory problems, sore throat. It can damage the heart tissue, occlude the airway and cause death. The mortality rate is one out of 10 adults and one child out of five, the most vulnerable.
"All cases of infected children are caused by failure to vaccination", reads a statement from the Director of the Epidemiology Department of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security, sent to Fides. The government provides free health care system, but hospitals are victims of severe economic crisis in the Country. Doctors and means of local and international communications have denounced the situation of insecurity and lack of vaccines. Despite publicly denying the severity of the outbreak, the government has also launched an emergency vaccination campaign and determined that only children were admitted to the hospital in Guaiparo suspected of having contracted the virus, in order to prevent others from being infected. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 15/12/2016)