The Venezuelan Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, announced the opening of an investigation into the reports of an alleged outbreak of an unknown disease in the city of Maracay (Aragua, center) that the government denies.
Ortega said that he appointed two prosecutors to investigate the «false information» while detecting that creating anxiety through the media is a crime. «Afterward, don’t say that you are being politically persecuted,» he added.
On September 11, the president of the Aragua State College of Physicians, Ángel Sarmiento, declared the existence of an unknown disease in a hospital in the region where eight people allegedly appeared.
«It is a virus that we do not know and presents similar symptoms in all cases: fever, joint pain, skin spots and bleeding,» he told BBC Mundo that day.
Dr. Julio Castro, one of the most prestigious epidemiologists in the country, explained to BBC Mundo that the dead presented «a certain common pattern of the clinical picture: hemorrhagic fever, joint pain and heart failure.»
But all this has been denied by the local authorities, dominated by the ruling party. The Aragua Health Corporation said that there had actually been two deaths.
Aragua’s health secretary, Luis López, assured that the deaths were not due to any unknown virus.
«How are we going to admit that something is happening that does not happen. There is no emergency, Ebola, collective deaths, a bacterium that causes death, there is no case with meningococcemia (…). If something were happening, we would be the first to alert it » , sure.
Prosecutor Ortega’s statement came a day after the president, Nicolás Maduro, asked him to act «with all severity» against the doctor.
He also attacked the international media that echoed the matter.
Maduro said he suspected the opposition was planning to sow a virus as part of a bacteriological warfare.
«It has been done in the world against other countries (…). And they already have the campaign prepared.»