Venezuela – The cause of death of students at Chichiriviche de la Costa is not as yet known.  There are currently 12 children who remain hospitalized.

“It all began with a very high fever that came and went. We took him to an outpatient clinic where they gave medications but the symptoms returned.  After several days he wanted to return to school, and the next day he began a sharp pain in his abdomen.  Then 15 days passed and we took him to La Guaira it was late.  After the taxi ride to the Naval Hospital and the Hospitalito Catia la Mar, in search of a pediatrician, he was finally admitted in the Periferico de Pariata. There, the boy began to feel a strong pressure in his chest, and on Friday night told me I can not breathe grandmother, and then he closed his eyes. So we lost him, but nobody can explain why.”

This is what the grandmother of the 1st child that died, a 9 year-old boy, in the town of Chichiriviche de la Costa, of a disease that the epidemiologists of the region have not as yet succeeded in identifying.  Three days later a 7 year old boy died with similar symptoms.

The strange disease also affected another 45 children, students at the Romulo Monasterios school.  In addition, the same symptoms have been reported by 2 teachers and 2 cooks working at the same campus. All of the cases have been referred to hospitals in the region which have laboratory and imaging services, to permit thorough studies [testing] on each case.  Three of the children, with ages between 7 and 10 years old, have been admitted to the intensive care unit at the Perex Carreno and Jose Maria Vargas de La Guaira hospitals with guarded clinical prognoses.

Yenkis Higuera, physician at the rural outpatient clinic in Chichiriviche de la Costa, explained that during the 1st week when he noted the recurrence of the febrile symptoms, he reported this news to the Epidemiology Directorate of the Region.  The 2nd week there were more cases, and in the 3rd week the situation of the 1st patients worsened, and all of this was reported progressively to the authorities. Finally, in the 4th week, the 1st death was reported. And from then on, officials from all health agencies have been pending [more information/diagnoses] No autopsy was performed on the 1st boy that died [the 9-year old] to verify which organ systems were involved. But with the death of the
2nd child [the 7 year old], his parents permitted biopsies of the liver, heart and vessels to determine the cause of death.

More samples were asked for. Representatives of the Vargas Ministry of Health, present in the zone, said that they still do not have a certain diagnosis on the type of virus or bacteria which has led to the epidemiologic alert.

The Rafael Rangel National Institute of Hygiene asked the epidemiology team of Vargas for more specimens.  According to Jose Querales, president of the Institute, part of the material received [by the institute] is being processed, the other [part] was cent to the Pathology Institute at the UCV [Central University of Venezuela]. The expert did not want to advance hypotheses or the [expected] date of results.