Two new reports by CDC on emerging infectious diseases in Venezuela

Volume 25, Number 4—April 2019

Perspective

Resurgence of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in Venezuela as a Regional Public Health Threat in the Americas

Abstract

Venezuela’s tumbling economy and authoritarian rule have precipitated an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Hyperinflation rates now exceed 45,000%, and Venezuela’s health system is in free fall. The country is experiencing a massive exodus of biomedical scientists and qualified healthcare professionals. Reemergence of arthropod-borne and vaccine-preventable diseases has sparked serious epidemics that also affect neighboring countries. In this article, we discuss the ongoing epidemics of measles and diphtheria in Venezuela and their disproportionate impact on indigenous populations. We also discuss the potential for reemergence of poliomyelitis and conclude that action to halt the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases within Venezuela is a matter of urgency for the country and the region. We further provide specific recommendations for addressing this crisis.

Abstract

Mass migration from Venezuela has increased malaria resurgence risk across South America. During 2018, migrants from Venezuela constituted 96% of imported malaria cases along the Ecuador–Peru border. Plasmodium vivax predominated (96%). Autochthonous malaria cases emerged in areas previously malaria-free. Heightened malaria control and a response to this humanitarian crisis are imperative.

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