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A Network Created by the Venezuelan Crisis

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/world/wp/2018/10/31/feature/as-venezuelas-health-system-collapses-disease-spreads-beyond-its-borders/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.68c1ec40ce5f

 

The article “Venezuela’s Crisis Has Become Our Own” written by Anthony Faiola, Marina Lopes and Rachelle Krygier for the Washington Post discusses Venezuela’s crisis regarding its collapsing health system and the consequences of it. Since Venezuela began suffering its economical and social crisis, its citizens have not been receiving proper medical care, including vaccinations and prevention of the spread of deadly diseases. With their country in ruins, many Venezuelans have began to immigrate to nearby countries, such as Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Northern Brazil. Due to there being limited control on the borders, Venezuelans who have diseases, like malaria and diphtheria, were able to enter other countries. Thus, spreading the diseases to areas who have not had to deal with them for years.

The spread of diseases brought by migrant Venezuelans to these countries can be portrayed as an epidemic network, where the nodes are the people and the edges are connections that can lead to transmissions of diseases. In the case for Amazonas state in Brazil, “patient zero for measles was a one year old Venezuelan child.” Over eight months there have been many waves of the disease spreading where more than 10,000 patients are believed to have measles symptoms. The disease has spread rapidly since there were a lot of susceptible victims without any vaccination against measles in this state of Brazil. Moreover, according to a health official in Brazil there has not been a case of measles for over 18 years in the country, so they were not prepare to battle against an epidemic. Consequently, to reduce the probability of transmission, p, the Pan American Health Organization has developed emergency health programs to get as many people in the area vaccinated. On top of this program, they have tried to reduce to number of contacts, k, between healthy people and infected ones by setting up quarantine programs in hospitals and home containment for less severe cases. Thus, overall decreasing the key quantity, the expected number of people someone will infect (R= pk). This has work since as stated by the article, “After the delivery of 1 million vaccinations, the number of suspected new cases is dropping — down to 170 a week.”

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