A sharp rise in malaria cases in Venezuela, as well as the re-emergence of dengue and chikungunya, has health officials on alert. Venezuela joins Guyana and Haiti as the only three countries with an increase in malaria, write the Baker Institute’s Peter Hotez and Jennifer Herricks in the PLOS Speaking of Medicine blog. “However, Venezuela has a substantially higher human development index and gross national income per head than Guyana and Haiti, suggesting that factors other than extreme poverty partly account for this situation.”
A better understanding of the basis for this dangerous rise in disease — and of the extent to which it reflects changes in government policies versus other forces — are needed, Hotez and Herricks add. “In the meantime, neglected tropical diseases represent a public health and humanitarian emergency in the nation of Venezuela that may require external assistance from the Pan American Health Organization and other international agencies.”
Read “Venezuela: An Emerging Tropical Disease and Humanitarian Emergency?” published by the PLOS Speaking of Medicine blog on Aug. 26, 2014.