Plague reported in Peru

The World Health Organization has confirmed a total of 17 cases of plague in Ascope province of the Department La Libertad region in Peru as of the end of July.

Of the 17 cases, 12 are bubonic, four are pneumonic and one is septicemic. During the epidemiological investigation, ten strains of Y. pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague, were isolated from humans, domestic cats and rodents, according to the WHO.

Since late June, the AFP has reported three plague deaths, including Rosa Carranza, 29, who succumbed to the pneumonic form on August 12, after being ill for 36 days.

Measures are being put into place to try and control the spread of the disease. Health officials have begun insect control operations in homes located in high risk areas, case management and disease surveillance has been bolstered, and disease contacts are being traced. The WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health in its investigation and response activities in the region.

Health Minister Oscar Ugarte announced that everything is under control. He blamed the outbreak on expanding agriculture in La Libertad that has prompted an increase in rodent infestations, according to the AFP.

The last time the bubonic plague hit northern Peru was in 1994. That outbreak infected over a thousand people and killed 35.