Eight cases of the bubonic plague have been reported to health authorities in Apolo, a small town on the border with Peru, in South America.
The little town has 5000 inhabitants, but has suffered three confirmed deaths from plague during the past eight weeks.
The last reported outbreak of bubonic plague in northern Peru was in 1994 and, in that outbreak, 35 people died and more than 1000 others were infected but recovered.
The Bolivian health ministry has declared a health alert in the northern La Paz district. The regional health minister, Mr Rene Barrientos, announced that doctors and health officials would increase disease prevention programs and health controls to combat the plague. And since bubonic plague is known to be carried by rat fleas, that can jump off and bite humans, these efforts would be focused on areas and communities where people have observed and reported more rats and fleas.
The World Health Organisation cites bubonic plague as the most common form of plague. It is caused by bites from infected fleas or by having direct contact with animals like rats and mice which can also be infected and pass on the deadly germs.
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