The vaccine-preventable disease was reportedly eradicated in Venezuela decades ago; however, it saw a reemergence in 2016 with 324 cases.


According to a Reuters report this weekendVenezuela notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of around 123 cases of suspected diphtheria between January and mid-June, bringing the total number of suspected cases in the past year to 447, according to a Cuban health ministry web page which reported the figures.

Getting official figures from the Venezuelan Health Ministry has been difficult as the Epi Bulletin is rarely published.

The crisis in Venezuela is immense with skyrocketing inflation rates, food and medicine shortages and incredible violence and civil unrest. The health care crisis has showed us hospitals with no supplies, a lack of running water and electricity, a malaria epidemic and the resurgence of diphtheria after 24 years.

LISTEN: Venezuelan trained physician, a senior international health adviser, an infectious disease expert and a former advisor to the Venezuelan Ministry of Health, Leopoldo Villegas. MD joined me for a discussion on the healthcare crisis in Venezuela last October 2016