Diphtheria, an extremely contagious disease that has been mostly eradicated worldwide through vaccination, has reappeared in Venezuela. So far it has killed four children. More than 20 cases have been reported in just one month, including those four fatalities in the southern state of Bolivar.

In the crisis-stricken South American nation, many of the children don’t have access to the DPT vaccine that prevents the centuries-old disease. Caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacterium, the disease becomes serious if the bacterial toxin enters the bloodstream and spreads through the respiratory tract. It leads to heart failure and neurological illnesses. FULL REPORT