MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) – Four Kyrgyz villagers suspected of having contracted bubonic plague are healthy and have been released from hospital, a health official in the impoverished Central Asian republic reportedly said.
Authorities have been on alert since last Thursday’s death of a 15-year-old boy of bubonic plague. The teenager told doctors that he got sick after eating marmot meat while visiting relatives at a mountainous village, and 160 people from the area have been quarantined, health officials said earlier this week.
Four of them have been hospitalized on Tuesday with a fever, but were released Friday after medical tests that showed they were not infected, Rakhman Karimdzhanov of the At-Bashy Anti-Plague health department told the AKI Press news website.
Bubonic plague – the disease behind the Black Death epidemic that ravaged Europe in the 14th century – is transmitted by fleas living on small rodents. Humans can catch the disease through flea bites or close contact with infected rodents, such as dressing or consuming their meat. It is transmitted between people via coughs or sneezes once they are infected.
Though no major epidemics of bubonic plague have taken place since the early 20th century, small-scale outbreaks of the disease – which can be treated by antibiotics – continue to occur across the world, particularly in Asia. Kyrgyzstan last saw a death from a bubonic plague in 1981, though no epidemic followed.
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