A child has been diagnosed with polio in Venezuela, where the disease was thought to have been eradicated decades ago.

Poliomyelitis is a childhood disease caused by the poliovirus and can cause paralysis or death.  The last acute case was reported in 1989.

But Venezuela has gone through years of a political and economic crisis that has drained the resources of the healthcare system.  The child with polio had no history of vaccination and lives in an under-immunised extremely impoverished Delta Amacuro state. 

"The virus especially affects people in conditions of malnutrition and unvaccinated, as this case," said Doctor Jose Felix Oletta, a former Minister of Health.  He's criticizing the Venezuelan government for takingmore than a month to alert international agencies of the infection, instead of within the customary 24 hours.  Venezuela says its healthcare system isn't working the way it should and it doesn't have 85 percent of the medical supplies it needs because of US economic sanctions.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, are the only other countries that suffer from endemic polio.