Search This Blog

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Venezuela : Malaria epidemic hits southern Venezuela

Via AP :

" CARACAS, Venezuela : Malaria cases have doubled in Venezuela so far this year as health officials confront an epidemic in a vast southern region where wildcat gold miners are often infected in remote jungle camps.

Health Ministry statistics published this week show there have been 21,601 malaria cases nationwide so far this year, up from 10,758 during the same period last year.

A vast majority of the patients - 19,750 - were diagnosed in southern Bolivar state, where government officials say there is an epidemic. The statistics, which are updated weekly and circulated among some health officials, cover the period running from the start of the year through May 22.

Miners in search of gold and diamonds have long caught the disease by venturing into forests where malaria-carrying mosquitoes live. Their strip-mines destroy patches of forest, leaving behind muddy pools and water contaminated with the mercury they use to separate gold from rock.

Public health officials attribute the rise in malaria cases in part to a government-led operation this year in which soldiers have evicted thousands of miners from their illegal strip-mines."

No comments:

Post a Comment