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Mystery Disease Kills 7 in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ The mayor of a small city is considering quarantining two neighborhoods where a mysterious illness has killed seven people and left 43 seriously ill, local media reported Tuesday.

Luiz Barcelos de Vasconcelos, mayor of Japeri, a small municipality on the outskirts of Rio, said he was waiting for results of blood tests sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, before deciding whether to isolate the neighborhoods.

``My concern is that the illness spreads and the situation becomes uncontrollable. If that happens all we can do is pray,'' Vasconcelos was quoted as saying by the Estado news agency.

The first victim was a 15-year-old boy who died on June 12, five days after he was hospitalized complaining of sharp head pains, the next six victims died between June and September. All except one of the victims lived in just two neighborhoods _ both without running water.

Symptoms of the disease include sharp muscle pains, headaches, fever, diarrhea and hemorrhaging. The majority of the deaths occurred less than five days after the symptoms first appear.

Repeated calls to the Japeri mayor's office went unanswered Tuesday. Health officials said because of a holiday, no one would be available to comment on the report until Thursday.

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