Health authorities in northern Brazil are dealing with a wave vampire bats attacks that are infecting humans with the deadly rabies virus. In the last two months, 23 people have contracted rabies from bat bites and died.
Brazilian authorities regard this latest outbreak as unusually serious, blaming deforestation in the Amazon region for the attacks.
Health authorities have treated more than 1,300 people for rabies. The vampire bat attacks almost always occur at night, in homes.
In the affected areas, people have been trying to fill gaps in the walls of their huts with banana leaves to stop the bats from getting in.
Some experts blame the attacks on destruction of the rainforest, which deny the bats of their natural habitat.
Others suggest the vampire bat population may have grown rapidly, with the spread of cattle farming in the region providing an ample food supply.
Mass attacks on humans have occurred in other cattle regions in Latin America when the cattle are suddenly removed, denying the bats their normal food.
Bats drink the blood of other mammals while they are asleep. They are the main carriers of rabies in Brazil, AHN reports.
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