Venezuela Records First Case of Polio in 30 Years

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


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.

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.

Jose Felix Oletta, former Minister of Health, the last case of severe polio in the country was reported in the year 1989.

"The virus especially affects people in conditions of malnutrition and unvaccinated, as this case", Oletta added. Local health authorities took more than a month to notify the PAHO that they had identified a case of polio, although global health regulations require them to do so within 24 hours. Global health regulations require it to do so within 24 hours.

Venezuela says it does not have 85 percent of the basic medical supplies it needs even including vaccines.

Devastated by a serious economic and political crisis, Venezuela also recorded a year ago 85% of measles cases in all countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, according to PAHO.

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. The U.S. government issued a warning for all American citizens to leave the area last July.

"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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