Health officials are reporting at least 26 cases of Carrión’s disease, or Bartonella bacilliformis infection in residents of Sánchez Carrión province in Northern Peru, according to a local media report (computer translated).

Image/Alvaro1984 18
Image/Alvaro1984 18

The cases include children, young adults and elderly patients from Succha Centro and Yacopampa. In addition, a 7-month old infant from Huamachuco died from the infection after suffering from severe anemia and shock.

The Ministry of Health has commenced fumigation efforts to eradicate the sandfly vector.

B. bacilliformis causes bartonellosis, also called Oroya fever, Guáitira fever, verruga peruana, and Carrión’s disease. It is transmitted to human through the bite of a female sandfly, Lutzomyia verrucarum.

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It is found throughout the medically underserved communities of the Andes Mountains of South America, particularly Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.

Bartonella is the only bacterial pathogen known to invade the human red blood cell. Carrion’s disease can cause severe anemia. When acute hematic bartonellosis occurs in epidemic form or when rapid antibiotic treatment is not available, case-fatality rates can be as high as 40%–90%.

Milder episodes characterized by skin lesions that have the appearance of warts (verruga peruana).

It can be treated with antibiotics.