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Peru Plague Outbreak Kills Teen, Infects At Least 31

08/ 2/10 09:54 PM ET   AP

Plague Virus
This electron micrograph depicts the Yersinia pestis bacteria, the cause of bubonic plague.

LIMA, Peru — Peru's health minister says an outbreak of plague has killed a 14-year-old boy and infected at least 31 people in a northern coastal province.

Health Minister Oscar Ugarte says authorities are screening sugar and fish meal exports from Ascope province, located about 325 miles (520 kms) northwest of Lima. Popular Chicama beach isn't far away.

Ugarte says the boy, who had Down syndrome, died of bubonic plague July 26.

He said Monday that most of the infections are bubonic plague, with four cases of pneumonic plague. The former is transmitted by flea bites, the latter by airborne contagion. The disease is curable if treated early with antibiotics.

The first recorded plague outbreak in Peru was in 1903. The last, in 1994, killed 35 people.

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |