A bacterial disease has killed five babies and sickened 41 others in a remote indigenous community in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, authorities said. 

Chiapas' health department said Sunday in a statement that residents of Emiliano Zapata in the municipality of Yajalon have been urged to stay in their homes and avoid contact with others to prevent the spread of the bacteria that is causing the infection, which is characterized by coughing and fever. Authorities are looking into whether it is whooping cough.

The area is currently experiencing a wave of intense cold and rains.

Local officials say residents lack access to health care because of the remoteness and marginalization of their mountain community, and poor weather conditions have facilitated the spread of the disease.

The statement said health officials have confirmed the death of five babies and the sickening of 41 infants under 1 year old. Three medical teams have been sent to the village.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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