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Kyrgyz PM Handling Response To Bubonic Plague Case

  • RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev (file photo)

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev has taken personal control of the government's response to a reported case of bubonic plague in the country's north.

The government's press service said on August 26 that Satybaldiev had ordered the organization of disinfections and vaccinations for local residents in the Ak-Suu district.

Kyrgyzstan's State Center for Sanitary Control said on August 26 that a 15-year-old boy in the district died on August 23 of bubonic plague.

Kyrgyz Health Ministry official Tolo Isakov told journalists in Bishkek that the boy had most likely been infected with the plague through the bite of a flea while catching, slaughtering, and skinning a marmot or groundhog.

The oriental rat flea carries the bubonic plague after biting an infected rodent and can pass the disease to a human. Isakov said two teams had been dispatched to the area to "catch, exterminate, and study rodents."

Health Minister Dinara Sagynbaeva told RFE/RL that the boy cremated and the ashes were buried on August 25.

"As soon as the diagnosis was made, all necessary measures in accordance with international standards were carried out. The measures are being implemented as we speak. Therefore, there is no danger of an epidemic," Sagynbaeva said.

"There are checkpoints in the area now. All movements by humans and livestock in and out of the affected area have been stopped," she added. "There is no need to close the borders with neighboring countries."

According to Sagynbaeva, officials have hospitalized and isolated more than 100 people who had contact with the boy who died, including the 19 medical workers who treated him. Doctors are also administering antibiotics in the area.

Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection related to the disease known as the "Black Death" that killed tens of millions of people in 14th-century Europe. Primarily an animal-borne disease, it is usually spread by insects and is now extremely rare in humans.

Until last week, there had been no confirmed deaths from bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan since 1981.

With reporting by AFP