Guidance

Venezuela: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Venezuela for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Ascertain any risk factors for hepatitis B infection that may indicate the need for screening, because Venezuela has a low prevalence.

Ask about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel, for travel advice.

There is a high risk of malaria in Venezuela.

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Venezuela.

Be alert for possible cases of Chagas disease, and refer as appropriate, because there is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Venezuela.

Find out more about children’s health.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See Immunisation collection with complete schedules.

Tuberculosis

There is a low incidence of TB in Venezuela (<40 cases/100,000), so:

  • routine screening for TB is not required
  • consider testing in patients (including children) who show signs and symptoms
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

Take other risk factors into consideration when assessing likely health needs relating to HIV and STIs (no data are available on HIV prevalence in Venezuela).

Hepatitis B

Venezuela has a low prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Venezuela has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C if other risk factors apply.

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel, for travel advice.

Malaria

There is a high risk of malaria in Venezuela, mainly due to P. falciparum and P. vivax, so:

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Venezuela, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Venezuela are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Venezuela

Helminths

There is a risk of helminth infections in Venezuela, including:

  • schistosomiasis
  • soil transmitted helminthiasis

Chagas

There is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Venezuela, so:

  • be alert for possible cases
  • refer as appropriate

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Venezuela
Number of children per woman¹ 2 3

¹lifetime average

No data are available on:

  • contraceptive use
  • mammography screening rates
  • cervical cancer screening rates


Find out more about women’s health.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a moderate risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is 20 to 40%) and pre-school children (estimated prevalence is 20 to 40%), so:

  • be alert to the possibility of anaemia in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Iodine

People from Venezuela may be at risk of iodine induced hyperthyroidism due to excessive intake.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Venezuela.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Venezuela.

Languages

The main languages used in Venezuela are:

  • Spanish (official)
  • numerous indigenous dialects

Source: The World Factbook.

Find out about language interpretation.

Religions

Religion Population (%)
nominally Roman Catholic 96
Protestant 2
Other 2

Source: The World Factbook.

Migration to the UK

There were over 8,000 people from Venezuela living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 25 October 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated and made editorial changes to meet GOV.UK style.
  2. First published.