Four children from the indigenous Awajun tribe, deep in the Amazon rainforest, have died from rabies after being bitten by the blood-sucking bats, the BBC reported. It's unclear when the deaths occurred. The outbreak has hit the community of Urakusa, in northeast Peru near the border with Ecuador.
Vampire bats usually feed on the blood of livestock and other animals, attacking them at night while they sleep. But some have recently started preying on humans, after their woodland habitat began to shrink because of deforestation.
An official from Peru's health ministry, Jose Bustamente, told The Daily Telegraph that a majority of the 508 people bitten by the bats have received anti-rabies vaccinations, and that the rest will be vaccinated in the next few days. Residents are being instructed to sleep under mosquito netting and get regular injections to guard against the spread of rabies.
Rabies is a virus that causes acute inflammation of the brain and can be fatal. Most human cases come from dog bites.