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Last Updated

05 Nov 2002

Source:  Reuters, July 8, 2002.

Bubonic plague detected in Kazazhstan

ALMATY (Reuters) - A case of bubonic plague has been detected in southwestern Kazakhstan, and doctors have placed those in contact with the infected person in isolation, state television channel Khabar said on Monday.

Khabar said a nine-year-old boy from the village of Kulandy in the arid Kyzyl Orda region was brought to hospital with a high temperature last Friday. It said he could have been bitten by infected fleas carried by desert rodents.

The disease, which until recently has been fatal in 90 percent of cases, leads to swollen lymph nodes, high fever and delirium. It spreads by coughing, sneezing or simply talking. Three global epidemics in the sixth, 14th and 17th centuries killed over 100 million people.

Although largely eradicated worldwide, bubonic plague occurs from time to time in Kazakhstan. Last year one person died and several others were taken to hospital in the Central Asian state.

Khabar said the source of the infection was natural. It hastened to dispel concerns that it might have come from abandoned biological warfare laboratories developed on nearby Resurrection Island in Soviet times.