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Medical News
July 27, 1964

Rodent Linked to Epidemic of Bolivian Viral Illness

JAMA. 1964;189(4):37. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070040103052

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A wild rodent similar to a field mouse has been implicated in the transmission of Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, a viral illness which has claimed more than 100 lives in northeastern Bolivia.

The animal, Calomys callosus, inhabits fields, woodlands, and buildings in the province of Beni, center of the epidemic.

Evidence of its role in the spread of the disease was contained in a report issued by the Bolivian Hemorrhagic Fever Commission, composed of several US and Bolivian agencies working in cooperation with the Pan American Sanitary Bureau.

The first reported case of Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, known in Bolivia as "la tifa negra" (the black typhus), was reported in 1959. Since then, it has spread through Beni Province, and the village of Orobayaya was completely abandoned. During severe outbreaks of the disease in San Joaquin, present center of research operations, large numbers of persons fled to other areas.

About 20% of

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