LIMA – An outbreak of plague in the northern province of Ascope has left one person dead up to now and some 30 infected, Peruvian Health Minister Oscar Ugarte said.
The fatality was a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, who died on July 26 in hospital in the town of Cartavio.
“He wasn’t diagnosed in time. Not even his own family detected it,” Ugarte told a press conference.
A total of 31 cases of plague have been detected in Ascope since April in humans (including the youth who died), with 11 confirmed and 20 that are probable, as well as an undetermined number of cases involving dogs, cats and guinea pigs.
Twenty-five of the cases are for bubonic plague, the minister said, adding the people who are infected are given treatment in the area.
“The contagion of the plague is transmitted by bites from fleas on infected rodents” carrying the bacteria Yersinia pestis. “The pneumonic plague is a complication of the disease, since it is not transmitted by fleas but through drops of saliva,” Ugarte said.
The last previous outbreak of plague in northern Peru was in 1994, with 1,104 cases and 35 deaths. EFE