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Piranhas bite swimmers in Brazil

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Holidaymakers heading to the Daveron beach on the Paraguay river in western Brazil have been urged to take extra care after at least 15 swimmers were bitten by flesh-eating piranhas in the popular tourist spot in the past two weeks.

Authorities have warned that the Daveron beach has been infested with thousands of piranhas, making it even more important for tourists planning to go to the destination to take out a good travel insurance policy before jetting off.

Officials in Caceres city in Mato Grosso state said piranhas were appearing near the beach for the first time, but added that they do not plan to halt access.

Firefighter Raul Castro de Oliveira told Globo TV's G1 website: "People have got to be very careful. If they're bitten, they've got to get out of the water rapidly and not allow the blood to spread."

Elson de Campos Pinto, who was bitten by the aggressive fish on November 13, told G1: "I took a dip in the river and when I stood up, I felt pain in my foot. I saw that I had lost the tip of my toe. I took off running out of the river, afraid that I would be further attacked because of the blood. I'm not going back in for a long time."

© Press Association 2011