#US #sanctions in #Venezuela: #help, hindrance, or #violation of #humanrights? (Lancet, summary)

[Source: The Lancet, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

US sanctions in Venezuela: help, hindrance, or violation of human rights?

Tanya L Zakrison, Carles Muntaner

Published: June 13, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31397-2


We read with interest the Review about Venezuela’s public health crisis1 and could not agree more emphatically with the authors. However, the root causes of this economic crisis, specifically, the impact of the US economic sanctions, deserve further inquiry. Since 2014, 43 unilateral, coercive measures have been applied against Venezuela by the US Administration. These have effectively paralysed the economy, blocked oil exportation globally, and frozen Venezuelan financial assets abroad while denying access to international financial systems. This loss in oil revenue and assets has amounted to a shortfall worth billions of US dollars, prohibiting the importation of essential, lifesaving products.



We declare no competing interests.

Keywords: Public Health; Venezuela; USA; Wars; Politics; Society; Poverty.



#Venezuela’s #publichealth #crisis: a regional #emergency (Lancet, abstract)

[Source: The Lancet, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Venezuela’s public health crisis: a regional emergency

Kathleen R Page, MD, Shannon Doocy, PhD, Feliciano Reyna Ganteaume, BArch, Prof Julio S Castro, MD, Paul Spiegel, MD, Prof Chris Beyrer, MD

Published: March 11, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30344-7



The economic crisis in Venezuela has eroded the country’s health-care infrastructure and threatened the public health of its people. Shortages in medications, health supplies, interruptions of basic utilities at health-care facilities, and the emigration of health-care workers have led to a progressive decline in the operational capacity of health care. The effect of the crisis on public health has been difficult to quantify since the Venezuelan Ministry of Health stopped publishing crucial public health statistics in 2016. We prepared a synthesis of health information, beyond what is available from other sources, and scholarly discussion of engagement strategies for the international community. Data were identified through searches in MEDLINE, PubMed, and the grey literature, through references from relevant articles, and governmental and non-governmental reports, and publicly available databases. Articles published in English and Spanish until Dec 1, 2018, were included. Over the past decade, public health measures in Venezuela have substantially declined. From 2012 to 2016, infant deaths increased by 63% and maternal mortality more than doubled. Since 2016, outbreaks of the vaccine-preventable diseases measles and diphtheria have spread throughout the region. From 2016 to 2017, Venezuela had the largest rate of increase of malaria in the world, and in 2015, tuberculosis rates were the highest in the country in 40 years. Between 2017 and 2018, most patients who were infected with HIV interrupted therapy because of a lack of medications. The Venezuelan economic crisis has shattered the health-care system and resulted in rising morbidity and mortality. Outbreaks and expanding epidemics of infectious diseases associated with declines in basic public health services are threatening the health of the country and the region.

Keywords: Public Health; Venezuela; Wars; Society; Poverty.


Spatial #Dynamics of #Chikungunya Virus, #Venezuela, 2014 (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 25, Number 4—April 2019 / Research

Spatial Dynamics of Chikungunya Virus, Venezuela, 2014

Erley Lizarazo1, Maria Vincenti-Gonzalez1, Maria E. Grillet2, Sarah Bethencourt, Oscar Diaz, Noheliz Ojeda, Haydee Ochoa, Maria Auxiliadora Rangel, and Adriana Tami2

Author affiliations: University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands (E. Lizarazo, M. Vincenti-Gonzalez, A. Tami); Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela (M.E. Grillet); Universidad de Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela (S. Bethencourt, A. Tami); Fundación Instituto Carabobeño para la Salud, Carabobo, Venezuela (O. Diaz, N. Ojeda, H. Ochoa, M.A. Rangel)



Since chikungunya virus emerged in the Caribbean region in late 2013, ≈45 countries have experienced chikungunya outbreaks. We described and quantified the spatial and temporal events after the introduction and propagation of chikungunya into an immunologically naive population from the urban north-central region of Venezuela during 2014. The epidemic curve (n = 810 cases) unraveled within 5 months with a basic reproductive number of 3.7 and a radial spread traveled distance of 9.4 km at a mean velocity of 82.9 m/day. The highest disease diffusion speed occurred during the first 90 days, and space and space–time modeling suggest the epidemic followed a particular geographic pathway with spatiotemporal aggregation. The directionality and heterogeneity of transmission during the first introduction of chikungunya indicated existence of areas of diffusion and elevated risk for disease and highlight the importance of epidemic preparedness. This information will help in managing future threats of new or reemerging arboviruses.

Keywords: Chikungunya fever; Venezuela.


A longitudinal systems #immunologic #investigation of acute #Zika virus #infection in an individual infected while traveling to Caracas, #Venezuela (PLoS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

[Source: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


A longitudinal systems immunologic investigation of acute Zika virus infection in an individual infected while traveling to Caracas, Venezuela

Aaron F. Carlin , Jinsheng Wen , Edward A. Vizcarra , Melanie McCauley, Antoine Chaillon, Kevan Akrami, Cheryl Kim, Annie Elong Ngono, Maria Luz Lara-Marquez, Davey M. Smith, Christopher K. Glass, Robert T. Schooley, Christopher Benner, Sujan Shresta

Published: December 31, 2018 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007053 / This is an uncorrected proof.



Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus linked to devastating neurologic diseases. Immune responses to flaviviruses may be pathogenic or protective. Our understanding of human immune responses to ZIKV in vivo remains limited. Therefore, we performed a longitudinal molecular and phenotypic characterization of innate and adaptive immune responses during an acute ZIKV infection. We found that innate immune transcriptional and genomic responses were both cell type- and time-dependent. While interferon stimulated gene induction was common to all innate immune cells, the upregulation of important inflammatory cytokine genes was primarily limited to monocyte subsets. Additionally, genomic analysis revealed substantial chromatin remodeling at sites containing cell-type specific transcription factor binding motifs that may explain the observed changes in gene expression. In this dengue virus-experienced individual, adaptive immune responses were rapidly mobilized with T cell transcriptional activity and ZIKV neutralizing antibody responses peaking 6 days after the onset of symptoms. Collectively this study characterizes the development and resolution of an in vivo human immune response to acute ZIKV infection in an individual with pre-existing flavivirus immunity.


Author summary

Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging flaviviral infection that causes significant clinical disease. It is estimated that approximately one half of the world’s population is at risk for ZIKV infection. There are only a limited number of studies describing the human immune response to ZIKV infection. Carlin et al. combined conventional and genomic approaches to longitudinally analyze the innate and adaptive immune responses to acute ZIKV infection and its resolution in a person who was infected while traveling in Venezuela during the 2016 ZIKV epidemic year. Genome-wide sequencing in individual cell types revealed that although many populations respond to interferon stimulation, only specific cell populations within peripheral blood mononuclear cells upregulate important inflammatory cytokine gene expression. Additionally, analysis of open chromatin using ATAC-seq suggests that chromatin remodeling at sites containing cell-type specific transcription factor binding motifs may help us understand changes in gene expression. Consistent with previous reports, this individual with prior exposure to dengue virus (DENV), rapidly developed neutralizing anti-ZIKV responses that were cross-reactive with multiple DENV serotypes. Collectively this study combines traditional and genomic approaches to characterize the cell-type specific development of an in vivo human immune response to acute ZIKV infection.


Citation: Carlin AF, Wen J, Vizcarra EA, McCauley M, Chaillon A, Akrami K, et al. (2018) A longitudinal systems immunologic investigation of acute Zika virus infection in an individual infected while traveling to Caracas, Venezuela. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12(12): e0007053. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007053

Editor: William B. Messer, Oregon Health and Science University, UNITED STATES

Received: May 11, 2018; Accepted: December 5, 2018; Published: December 31, 2018

This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Data Availability: All human RNA-seq and ATAC-seq data described in this manuscript are available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Gene Expression Omnibus(GEO) accession number GSE123541.

Funding: This research was supported by NIAID/NIH grants AI116813 and AI140063 and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology institutional support to SS, KL2 Scholars: 1KL2TR001444 and Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists to AFC, and NIAID/NIH AI036214 to DMS. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors declare that there are no competing interest.

Keywords: Flavivirus; Zika Virus; Immunology.


#Oral and #Cloacal #Helicobacter Detection in Wild and Captive #Orinoco #Crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius) in #Venezuela (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

[Source: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Oral and Cloacal Helicobacter Detection in Wild and Captive Orinoco Crocodiles (Crocodylus intermedius) in Venezuela

Rudolf Carla A., Jaimes América, Espinosa-Blanco Ariel S., Contreras Monica, and García-Amado María Alexandra

Published Online: 5 Jul 2018 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2017.2210



Helicobacter species can colonize digestive tract of animals and humans and have been associated with gastrointestinal diseases; however, this genus has not been studied in crocodiles. Our objective was to detect by PCR Helicobacter genus and Helicobacter pylori in oral and cloacal swabs from Orinoco crocodiles of two wild (Cojedes River System and Capanaparo River) and two captive breeding centers (CBCs; Masaguaral Ranch and UNELLEZ) populations. Bacterial DNA was found in 100% of oral samples (10 wild and 10 captives), and in the 95% of cloacal samples (10 wild and 9 captives). In wild populations, Helicobacter spp. was not detected, whereas in CBCs, Helicobacter was detected in 10% of the oral samples, and 66.7% of cloacal samples. H. pylori was detected in two Orinoco crocodiles. Two cloacal non-pylori Helicobacter amplicons were sequenced, showing low similarity (≤97%) to Helicobacter sequences reported. This is the first report of Helicobacter species, including H. pylori in Crocodylus intermedius from CBCs.

Keywords: Helicobacter spp.; Helicobacter pylori; Wildlife; Venezuela.


#Madariaga Virus: Identification of a Lineage III Strain in a Venezuelan Child With Acute Undifferentiated Febrile Illness, in the Setting of a Possible Equine Epizootic (Clin Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Apr 27. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy224. [Epub ahead of print]

Madariaga Virus: Identification of a Lineage III Strain in a Venezuelan Child With Acute Undifferentiated Febrile Illness, in the Setting of a Possible Equine Epizootic.

Blohm GM1,2,3,4, Lednicky JA1,2, White SK1,2, Mavian CN1,5, Márquez MC3,4,6, González-García KP6, Salemi M1,5, Morris JG Jr1,7, Paniz-Mondolfi AE3,4,8.

Author information: 1 Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville. 2 Department of Environmental and Global Health, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville. 3 Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Instituto Diagnóstico Barquisimeto (IDB)/ Biomedical Research Institute/IDB Hospital, Barquisimeto, Lara. 4 Zoonosis and Emerging Pathogens Collaborative Network, Venezuelan Science Research Incubator, Barquisimeto, Lara. 5 Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville. 6 Health Sciences Department, College of Medicine, Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado, Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela. 7 Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville. 8 Directorate of Health, Department of Research and Academic Affairs, Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales (IVSS), Caracas, Venezuela.



We report identification of Madariaga virus (MADV) in plasma and urine samples from a child with acute undifferentiated febrile illness in Venezuela. Our data document the occurrence of milder MADV infections (ie, without encephalitis), with a symptom complex that resembles that seen with other arboviral infections, including dengue and zika.

PMID: 29718127 DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciy224

Keywords: Madariaga Virus; Venezuela.


#ENSO-driven #climate variability promotes periodic major #outbreaks of #dengue in #Venezuela (Sci Rep., abstract)

[Source: Scientific Reports, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

ENSO-driven climate variability promotes periodic major outbreaks of dengue in Venezuela

M. F. Vincenti-Gonzalez,  A. Tami,  E. F. Lizarazo &  M. E. Grillet

Scientific Reports, volume 8, Article number: 5727(2018) / doi:10.1038/s41598-018-24003-z

Received: 26 September 2017 – Accepted: 20 March 2018 – Published online: 10 April 2018



Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease of global impact. In Venezuela, dengue has emerged as one of the most important public health problems of urban areas with frequent epidemics since 2001. The long-term pattern of this disease has involved not only a general upward trend in cases but also a dramatic increase in the size and frequency of epidemic outbreaks. By assuming that climate variability has a relevant influence on these changes in time, we quantified the periodicity of dengue incidence in time-series of data from two northern regions of Venezuela. Disease cycles of 1 and 3–4 years (p < 0.05) were detected. We determined that dengue cycles corresponded with local climate and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variation at both seasonal and inter-annual scales (every 2–3 years). Dengue incidence peaks were more prevalent during the warmer and dryer years of El Niño confirming that ENSO is a regional climatic driver of such long-term periodicity through local changes in temperature and rainfall. Our findings support the evidence of the effect of climate on dengue dynamics and advocate the incorporation of climate information in the surveillance and prediction of this arboviral disease in Venezuela.

Keywords: ENSO; Venezuela; Arbovirus; Dengue Fever.