Three more people may have been infected with bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan. The three individuals have symptoms of bubonic plague, fever and swollen lymph nodes and come from the same village as Temirbek Isakunov, the 15-year-old boy who died from bubonic plague last Thursday.
Agence France-Presse reports three individuals from Sary-Kamysh, a village in the Batken Province located in southern Kyrgyzstan. The three individuals were in contact with Isakunov prior to his death and are being treated at a local hospital.
On Monday, it was reported Isakunov died from bubonic plague after being bitten by a flea, possibly from a marmot he was planning to eat. Health officials quarantined 131 people that were in contact with the teen and were setting up health stations on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan as a precautionary measure. The quarantined individuals include 33 medical personnel but none have displayed symptoms of bubonic plague. The officials also said there were plans to exterminate rodents in the area.
The quarantined individuals did not have any symptoms of bubonic plague and health officials were sent to Sary-Kamysh to identify any individuals that may be infected but did not find anyone with symptoms, reports AFP.
On Monday, prior to the three additional cases of bubonic plague, Kyrgyzstan’s health minister, Dinara Saginbayeva, said the infection was a localized outbreak. Saginbayeva said in a statement, “I can say in all certainty that there will be no plague epidemic. This is a localized outbreak.”
The bubonic plague was responsible for the “Black Death” pandemic that swept across Europe in the 14th Century. According to estimates, between 75 million and 200 million and died from bubonic plague. The infection is transmitted through fleas and can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms occur 7-10 days after infection.
Thousands of people are infected with bubonic plague each year, usually in isolated or localized outbreaks, with no reports of an epidemic.
Antibiotics are available in Kyrgyzstan and officials are optimistic that any potential cases can be treated immediately. AFP reports officials from Kazakhstan are monitoring individuals leaving Kyrgyzstan while warning its citizens from traveling into Kyrgyzstan.
The Guardian reports Kazakh officials are trying to determine what rodents in the area may act as carriers of the bubonic plague. Russian officials are also concerned over the reports of bubonic plague as Kyrgyzstan citizens do not need a visa to enter Russia and thousands of Kyrgyzstan residents working in Russia.