A string of deaths in a hospital here has sparked fears of a potent, mosquito-borne disease and led authorities to seek a doctor’s arrest for allegedly sowing panic, leaving residents wondering how to explain their symptoms.
Angel Sarmiento, president of the College of Doctors in Aragua state, told reporters on Sept. 11 that a virus or bacteria may have been responsible for the deaths of eight patients in quick succession at the Central Hospital of Maracay. A ninth patient died three days after Dr. Sarmiento’s comments.
Insisting there was no cause for general alarm, President Nicolás Maduro last week accused Dr. Sarmiento of “psychological terrorism.”
Doctors say they are afraid to speak out after Maduro accused Dr. Sarmiento directly and promised severe punishment if he is caught.