Bubonic plague outbreak feared in central Asia

Health officials on alert after teenager who ate infected barbecued marmot dies and three others are admitted to hospital

A Marmot. Temirbek Isakunov reportedly died from bubonic plague after eating a marmot

A Marmot. Temirbek Isakunov reportedly died from bubonic plague after eating an infected barbecued marmot Photograph: Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media

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Health officials fear an outbreak of bubonic plague in central Asia after a teenage boy died from the disease and three more were admitted to hospital in Kyrgyzstan.

Temirbek Isakunov, a 15-year-old from a mountain village near the border with Kazakhstan, reportedly died from the disease last week after eating an infected barbecued marmot. Kyrgyzstan’s emergency ministry said a young woman and two children from a different village who came into contact with Isakunov were hospitalised on Tuesday with the high fever and swelling around the neck and armpits characteristic of bubonic plague, local news outlets reported.

A total of 131 people, including 33 medical personnel, have been quarantined, although none of them have yet exhibited symptoms of the disease, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in Kyrgyzstan reported. The health ministry continues to find and quarantine people who came into contact with the teenager, according to its director.

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