Caracas.- Venezuela not only concentrates greater number of confirmed cases of measles in America, but also leads in mortality rates for the disease. The statistics of Pan American Health Organization (OPS), reflected in its recent epidemiological update, indicate that the country is accumulating 95% of the deceased by the virus, when registering 115 of 121 dead notified to the authority.
The PAHO document, issued on August 20, indicates that Venezuela notified between January and July 2018, 35 deaths from measles in the state Delta Amacuro; 7 in Miranda and 2 in the Capital District. The total number of deaths is included 53 native from the Yanomami ethnic group of the Alto Orinoco municipality of the state Amazon that happened between March and June 2018. The other country that registered the death of measles was Brazil with 6 deaths, including two Venezuelans who emigrated to that country at the beginning of the year.
Transmission by measles is still active in the 23 states of the country, with a large number of new cases, especially in Delta Amacuro, Capital District, Vargas and Miranda. The census of the data sent by the Ministry of Health to the PAHO specifies that Venezuela has gathered one year and two weeks after the return of the disease, 4,272 confirmed cases with the virus, of which 3,545 were diagnosed between January and July 2018.
With the technical support of PAHO, the government is currently developing a second phase of the Campaign of National vaccination what pretends administer more than 13 million doses to more than 14 million children and adolescents which are not yet protected against measles and diphtheria. The plan, which began on July 29 and ends on September 15, aims for a national coverage of at least 95%.
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Specialists from organizations, such as the Venezuelan Society of Public Health, complain that the response from the Ministry of Health to address the epidemic was applied too late and that it did not produce any results to prevent the spread of the disease. They also point out that the current plan is opaque: it does not provide detailed information about the number or doses of vaccines, the target population to be immunized, or the specific places that people should go to.
The PAHO noted that, in a document discussed in the Executive Committee in June 2018, the spread of measles throughout the country was due to "inadequate" vaccination coverage and the relocation of Venezuelans to the Bolivar state, where the virus to circulate again in 2017. The weak epidemiological surveillance, coupled with the failure to immunize the population, even facilitated the epidemic to spread to four countries in America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru), which received imported on their territory since last February.
The current incidence of cases in the country exceeded in number of cases epidemic outbreaks recorded in 2003 and 2007. The increase with more than a year more affected by the virus caused Venezuela to lose the recognition granted by the PAHO in December 2016. by declaring her free from measles and also from rubella.
Since last January, measles began to affect the indigenous population of the country. The PAHO indicates that up to the beginning of July, 396 cases were registered in ethnic groups of six states.
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The entities that registered more infections by the virus were Delta Amacuro with 271 (all Warao-etinia); Monagas (46), Bolivar (41) and Apure (23). The rest of the cases were reported in Anzoateguí (14) and Zulia (1). The information in the epidemiological report also indicates that 334 suspected cases are being investigated.
With more than 3,500 confirmed cases of measles, Venezuela concentrates 70% of all 5,004 cases notified to the PAHO by 11 countries in North and South America between January and August 2018. The figures offered by the PAHO of Venezuela are those that are in the Epidemiological Bulletins. Weekly Ministry of Health that the government stopped publishing a year ago, although its content is an obligatory report.