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Malaria infections on the rise as the Venezuelan economy suffers

Although Venezuela was the first nation in the world to eradicate malaria in 1961, malaria cases have risen by 71% in the country in the first 6 months of 2016, The New York Times reports. The reason: a rise in gold mining prompted by Venezuela’s collapsing economy. Over the past year, at least 70,000 Venezuelans have lost their jobs—as civil servants, teachers, taxi drivers, and more—and gone to work in swampy gold mines to make enough money to survive. Those watery, open pits are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which have infected the desperate miners with malaria by the tens of thousands. Infected miners then return to cities, which have little money for mosquito fumigation or even malaria medication. As a result, malaria continues to spread.