Sunday, 15 August 2010
On the hunt, in the outskirts of the Northern of Trujillo, Peru's third largest city. So far there have been 28 cases, 3 confirmed dead. Bubonic plague.
Fears that the disease could reach Trujillo have been allayed as authorities believe the outbreak has been maintained. Two weeks have gone past since the last reported infection. While two medics remain in hospital after negligently catching the plague. All three deaths, a child of 4, a boy of 14 and a woman 29 lived next to wheat or sugar cane crops - perfect burrows for field rats.
The bacteria 'yersinia pestis' begins in the rata negra, as the field rat is known in Peru. The disease is transmitted by fleas. Every ten or fifteen years outbreaks as such are reported in the Northern region, a place ideal for field rats, for its dryness and high stalk agriculture. Interestingly urban rats do not develop the bacteria though they also can be receptors of the disease as can be other animals and humans. Attention has been brought onto the outskirts and markets city of Trujillo rife with rats living off unattended rubbish dumps.
Bubonic plague arrived in Peru, it is said, on a Chinese ship in 1903.