Authors: Martha Powell, Future Science Group
A huge upsurge in malaria cases has been caused by Venezuela’s socioeconomic and political crisis, undoing years of progress and endangering neighbouring countries, according to research presented at the 29th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID; 13–16 April, Amsterdam, the Netherlands). The study has estimated that 2018 could show over 1 million cases of malaria in Venezuela alone.
The recent situation in Venezuela has harmed public health provision in the country, with an exodus of medical professionals and long-term shortages of medicines and medical supplies. As a result, the country is now facing re-emergence of any diseases, some of which were previously well controlled.
This study, from Venezuelan clinicians and scientists working alongside a global network, assessed the impact of Venezuela’s healthcare crisis on malaria and other vector-borne diseases, and their spillover to neighbouring countries.
The team assessed public health records from Venezuela and the bordering states of Brazil and Columbia, discovering that between 2000 and 2015 Venezuela witnessed a 4.6-fold increase in malaria cases, rising from 29,736 cases in 2000 to 136,402 in 2015. This was followed by a 71% increase in 2017, which saw 411,586 cases compared with 240,613 cases in 2016 – figures that were previously reported in the Lancet Infectious Disease.