Plague outbreak in Himachal
A series of tests have confirmed that the disease outbreak in areas of Himachal Pradesh is plague.
Plague is an infection caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis
. This organism is carried by rats and other rodents and spread by the bite of a flea (Xenopsylla cheopsis
) or ingestion of the faeces of fleas through contaminated food. In case of pneumonic plague the bacteria invades the lungs of the victim causing pneumonia. The lungs are filled with a frothy bloody liquid. Patients with pneumonic plague need to be isolated from other patients. People in contact with the patients of pneumonic plague are observed closely and given antibiotics as a preventive measure.
A 30-year-old woman who had been on a respirator died of suspected plague in Himachal Pradesh even as authorities claimed to have contained the outbreak of the disease. The woman was hospitalised for suspected plague last week. The latest victim brings the death toll to four while at least 14 others have been hospitalised. This outbreak revives memories of the 1994 plague that killed more than 50 people in western India and hit the country's tourist trade. The government has distributed some 375,000 antibiotic capsules and is keeping close watch on the situation.
According to a team from the New Delhi-based National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), which is investigating the plague. The disease is now totally under control with no fresh cases of infection being reported. During the last outbreak, scientists were not prepared and the required facilities as well as expertise was not available within the country.
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