Last month, we saw the first official Venezuela Ministry of Health bulletin in about two years. Health officials reported 324 diphtheria cases in 2016, after eradicating the disease over two decades ago.


During the first four months of 2017, 86 additional diphtheria cases have been reported, according the Bulletin of the International Epidemiological Center (computer translated). Of this total, at least two fatalities have been reported.

LISTEN: Venezuela’s health crisis: A discussion with Dr. Leopoldo Villegas

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria, transmitted from person to person through close physical and respiratory contact. It can cause infection of the nasopharynx, which may lead to breathing difficulties and death.