LIMA (Web Desk) – At least 12 children in Peru have died from rabies after being bitten by blood-sucking bats, which locals at first blamed on witchcraft.

The children aged between eight and 15 died between September and February in two indigenous communities in the Amazon region of Loreto, health officials said.

From the symptoms and medical reports it was determined that the 12 children from the Achuar ethnic group died from an outbreak of wild rabies.


The victims were bitten by blood-sucking bats, animals that drink blood, in the Yankuntich and Uncun communities in the jungle, 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) north of the capital Lima.

However, according to local authorities the community thought the children’s deaths were due to witchcraft, and that was why they didn’t report the outbreak in time.

The Peru government has declared a health emergency to get medical aid to the region quickly.

Vaccination teams have been sent urgently to the remote South American region.