Barbecued marmot meat possible cause of plague in 15-year-old boy (wiki commons)
Over 100 people have been quarantined in Kyrgyzstan after a teenage boy died from the bubonic plague.
Temir Issakunov, 15, is thought to have caught the disease from a flea bite or from eating some infected barbequed marmot meat.
He became ill after eating a meal with friends and family in Ichke-Zhergez, a village near the border with Kazakhstan.
Health officials said he died last week. However, he was not diagnosed with bubonic plague by doctors at the Karakol regional hospital until now.
His body was cremated and was buried with "special precautions", authorities said. It is the first case of bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan for 30 years, health minister Dinara Saginbayeva said, adding that it is unlikely the case will cause an outbreak.
"The form of the disease in the teenager is not conducive to a plague epidemic."
Over 100 people, including doctors, have been quarantined after coming into contact with Issakunov. A further 2,000 people are being tested for the disease in the region and checkpoints have been set up, with transport of livestock restricted.
Flea bite suspected
Kazakhstan is also believed to have tightened its border controls to prevent the disease from spreading.
Bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough.
Tolo Isakov, a health ministry official, said a team was sent to Ichke-Zhergez to get rid of rodents possibly carrying the plague. "We suspect that the patient was infected with the plague through the bite of a flea," he said.
The plague is primarily carried by animals and is rarely found in humans. Normally, the disease is transmitted by flea bites but it can also be caught from exposure to meat from infected animals.
The last significant outbreak was in Peru in 2010, when 12 people were found to be infected with the disease.
Bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, was responsible for the deaths of millions during the Middle Ages.
More recently, a plague-infected squirrel led to the closure of Los Angeles' National Park after it tested positive for the disease during routine surveillance activities.
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