Saturday, March 23, 2019

A perfect storm—Venezuela and a measles outbreak

Some people don't think that socialism in Venezuela is a problem, or they think the problem hasn't been caused by "real" socialism"; and others think no vaccines is not a problem. So when they meet, it's a perfect storm. This abstract is from Emerging Infectious Diseases, Volume 25, Number 4—April 2019. Keep in mind, that although the U.S. isn't a "neighboring country," we are at risk from unvaccinated people storming our borders.

"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."

From the article: "In Venezuela, circulation of wild measles was interrupted in February 2007 after a mass vaccination campaign that followed outbreaks in 2001 and 2006 (15). However, since 2017, measles has reemerged in Venezuela, particularly within vulnerable indigenous populations, and has subsequently reached neighboring countries (Figure 1, panel A) (16). As of October 23, 2018, Venezuela had contributed 68% (5,525/8,091 cases) of the measles cases reported in the Americas and most of the measles-related deaths (73/85) (16). Genotyping of the measles virus isolated from patients from Venezuela (imported cases) in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru confirmed that the strains were genotype D8, lineage MVi/Hulu Langat.MYS/26.11 (16). The D8 genotype is associated with endemic transmission in Asia and the Pacific (17) and is the main lineage circulating currently in South America (16)."

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