Venezuela Virus 2014: Mysterious Disease Reportedly Infects Aragua Area; Governor in Denial
An unknown virus may be spreading within Venezuela's Aragua state, medical officials report; however, the state's governor denies these allegations and accuses the official of lying.
According to the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, the crisis arose in Central Hospital of Maracay where personnel were seen with mouth covers. Social media began rumors about various deaths within the hospital caused by bacteria similar to Neisseria meningitides.
Angel Sarmiento, president of Aragua Medical School, announced eight people died of the yet unidentified disease. He said it was not Ebola, meningitis, dengue or chikungunya. He added that the victims were four children and four adults.
The symptoms exhibited by the dead were spots on the body that turned to boils, high fever, massive hemorrhaging stemming from smaller hemorrhagic incidents, and multi-organ failure. The disease took around 72 hours to run its course.
"We don't know what we are confronting," Sarmiento said. "We don't know if it's a virus or bacteria. How can we heal what we don't know?"
However, there may not be any disease to battle. The governor of Aragua, who is also the state's leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, denies Sarmiento's claims, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune.
Gov. Tarek el Aissami said, "I need to start by categorically denying the existence of some virus or bacteria on the premises of the Maracay Central Hospital that is putting the lives of patients at risk."
Aragua's governor refuted Sarmiento's claim and called them a "terrorist matrix that has a basic purpose, which is to create alarm, anguish in Aragua's population." He added that the deceased died of different causes, including an old man dying of diabetes and one of the children from leukemia.
"What you are is a criminal, who, irresponsibly using your status as a doctor, launched this campaign without finding out the facts, without investigating, and in these last few hours you've caused terrible anguish among the people of Aragua," el Aissami said about Sarmiento.
The governor called on the Attorney General's office to investigate Sarmiento.