In Peru in 2004, 11 children of Indian tribes living in the remote northern areas of the country have died from rabies after being bitten by bloodthirsty vampire bats. These incidents have forced local residents Condorcanqui province, which near the border with Ecuador, to leave their homes, but the representatives of the health care system insist that the situation is under control, according to Reuters (translation online Inopressa.ru).
Luis Suarez, general director of the ministry of health epidemics in Peru, said that was recorded two outbreaks of rabies, one in September and October has claimed the lives of three children, the second in November resulted in the death of eight more. "Of course, people are scared. They temporarily leave their homes and go deeper into the jungle," — said vice-president of the Peruvian Jungle Interethnic Association Shapion Noningo.
Total vampire bats have bitten a man in 1101, the latest incident occurred in December. People entered rabies vaccine, which is imported, especially from Argentina and Ecuador. In the valley of the Amazon is home to 10 million people, and in the most dangerous areas — 2,500 people, mostly representatives of tribes and huambisa Aguaruna.
Recall that in Brazil in April and May last year, a total of 34 people infected with rabies and died after being bitten by vampire bats.
Vampire bats that live only in Latin America, feed exclusively on blood, but people are attacked only when they can not find a suitable sacrifice of animals. If they are not the source of the blood in two days, they die.
Do not "demonize" the bats — they are very soft and gentle creatures
Despite its terrible reputation, vampire bats are very soft and delicate creatures and they are easy to tame, says U.S. expert on bats Merlin Tuttle. He adds that they should not be "demonized."
These creatures avoid sunlight and when to attack humans, it is usually in their sleep, biting them in the head, neck or digging into my toe. Curiously, they often have to taste the blood of a particular person, the agency said.
"You hear about bats, vampires only when there are terrible news about the people who died of rabies, and yet they are very smart and very cute animals" — says Tuttle, founder of the Texas-based organization Bat Conservation International, adding that during the his travels in the Amazon was wearing these little animals like hamsters in their pockets.
Usually bats are shy and non-aggressive. Such a drastic change in the behavior of the animals experts attribute the systematic destruction of tropical forests, the natural habitat of bats.
The battle with bats
Suarez says the first death of the locals blamed on witchcraft and did not allow government officials to carry out autopsies. However, they take on the authorities vaccine.
From the bite before the first symptoms of rabies may take a few months, but after their appearance in the absence of treatment is very painful death inevitably occurs within a few days. And yourself mouse-vampires die, too, usually within two weeks.
UN Children's Fund allocates 8,800 dollars to help combat the bats and delivers sensitive areas mesh curtains for night protection, said Mario Tavera, coordinator UNISEF in Peru.
Fishers of bats come out with torches before dawn, collecting bats and daubed them with poison before being released. The mice are returned to their caves and poison venom of other mice.
Tuttle, founder of the Texas-based organization Bat Conservation International, which is engaged in the preservation and study of bats and the ecosystems in which they live, says that it is meaningless. "The efforts of catching and destroying the bats do not make sense. As far as I know, 95% of those killed mice perform useful functions, for example, eat mosquitoes," — he said.
The best way to protect, according to him, besides also the cheapest — protection from mosquitoes that bats are not able to bite through the agency said.