Image: vampire bat
Mario Quadros  /  AP file
Vampire bats from the Amazon rainforest, like this one caught in a net set up by researchers, have reportedly killed at least five children in Peru.
updated 9/23/2010 5:27:26 AM ET 2010-09-23T09:27:26

Rabid vampire bats have reportedly killed at least five children aged between five and 10 in Amazon rainforest of Peru.

Fernando Borjas, a doctor, said the rabies outbreak had been going on for several months, the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

"These bats feed at night, and since they do not find large animals they bite unprotected people," Borjas was quoted as saying by the paper.

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"I cannot discount the death toll mounting, because unfortunately we cannot get them the vaccines quickly enough because the communities are so remote," he added.

The children belonged to the Wampis and Awajun communities in Condorcanqui province, near the border with Ecuador.

Borjas said there were reports that 3,500 people had been bitten by the vampire bats this year alone, according to the Telegraph, with at least 20 deaths.

It takes 15 hours traveling along rivers by boat for medical teams to reach the remote villages, the newspaper said.

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