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Peru Cholera Deaths Climb; Neighbors Act

From Associated Press

The death toll rose to 90 Friday in Peru’s cholera epidemic, and worried South American nations applied emergency measures to stop the disease from spreading across its borders.

Ecuador ordered the fumigation of its border area with Peru, and the cleaning of a rubbish-filled canal that divides the two countries.

Officials in the northern Chilean port of Iquique announced a five-day quarantine on all air, land and sea traffic coming from Peru.

Argentina and Paraguay have refused to play soccer matches in Peru for fear of contracting cholera. Other nations have banned fish products from Peru, the world’s largest fish meal exporter. Medical authorities say the vibrio cholerae bacillus that causes cholera also resides in plankton and shore-hugging fish.

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The Peruvian government shut down a major fishing terminal in Lima after several hundred cases of cholera were reported in the area. Many cholera victims said they had eaten ceviche, the national dish of raw fish marinated in lemon, which the government has warned people not to eat because of the contamination.

Elsewhere in the Lima metropolitan area, the government closed beaches and more unhygienic street food stalls.

Cholera, spread in feces-contaminated water and food, affects the intestines, causing diarrhea and severe fluid loss. It can be fatal if not treated.

Foreign medical experts and donations of medicine continued to arrive in Peru on Friday. A French Embassy spokesman said a team of medical experts was sent to help Peruvian authorities combat the spread of the disease.

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U.S. epidemiologists are in Peru investigating the cause of the outbreak, the first in the Western Hemisphere since early this century. But government authorities say no conclusion has been reached.

Health Ministry figures released Friday put the death tally from cholera at 90, four higher than a day earlier, with 1,100 new cases, totaling 13,768 since late January.


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