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Marmot meat blamed after teen dies of bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan

Officials in the central Asian country are confident there will be no outbreak, but neighbouring Kazakhstan has tightened border controls.

A marmot
A marmot
Image: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia

AN EPIDEMIC OF the bubonic plague is “not likely”, officials in the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan have said.

Health ministers in the south of the country say that the death of a 15-year-old boy was a localised incident and would not spread.

Temirbek Isakunov, from the country’s north-eastern Issyk Kul province, contracted the disease on 17 August and died less than a week later.

Local health officials quarantined all of the people the boy was believed to have been in contact with prior to his death.

More than 2,000 people are now being tested for the disease and neighbouring Kazakhstan has tightened border controls.

However, Dinara Saginbayeva, Kyrgyzstan’s Health Minister, believes the plague is a local outbreak and concerns about a possible epidemic are unfounded.

“I can say in all certainty that there will be no plague epidemic. This is a localised outbreak,” Saginbayeva told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Rodents in the area will be tested and sanitary stations have been set up across the region.

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The World Health Organisation says that the last major outbreak of plague was in 2010, when 12 Peruvians were infected.

Marmots are large squirrels that live on the ground.

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