BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — A doctors' association in Malawi says some health workers have been attacked by mobs convinced that blood-sucking vampires are roaming some parts of the country.

The Society of Medical Doctors said Monday that assailants have attacked medics for carrying stethoscopes, or robbed them and smashed their vehicles in what it described as an escalation of thuggery and mass hysteria.

Amos Nyaka, the society's president, is commending health workers for continuing to serve communities despite the risk to their lives and property.

Police in the southern African country say they have made nearly 200 arrests following deadly mob attacks on people suspected of being "vampires." At least nine people have been killed in attacks following the blood sucker rumors in Malawi.

Similar attacks have been reported in Mozambique's Zambezia province.