Bats infected with rabies have attacked more than 500 indigenous people in Peru's Amazon and four children likely lost their lives in an outbreak of the disease, the Health Ministry there said.
The attacks occurred in the village of Urakusa, in northeastern Peru, where the Aguajun tribe lives.
Jose Bustamente, a Health Ministry official, said medical supplies and vaccines to treat those infected with rabies have been sent to the tribe.
Rabies, a virus that causes acute inflammation of the brain, is usually spread to humans by dog bites and has an incubation period that can last several months.
Health teams are looking for people in communities within 10 km of the outbreak who were attacked by bats any time in the last six months.
Bustamente said 97% of the 508 people who were bitten have begun receiving an anti-rabies vaccination. It is expected that the rest - some of whom have rejected treatment - will be vaccinated in the next few days. - (Reuters Health, August 2010)