Saturday, February 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Plague: doctors’ leave cancelled
Tribune News Service

Masked relatives of Asha Devi
Masked relatives of Asha Devi, suspected to be suffering from pneumonic plague, collecting her meal in the corridor of the IGMC at Shimla on Friday.

An isolation ward
An isolation ward being prepared on Friday in the Deen Dayal Upadhaya hospital at Shimla in view of incidents of pneumonic plague. — Photos by Anil Dayal

Shimla, February 15
The leave of government doctors in the Shimla district has been cancelled by the authorities in view of incidents of the pneumonic plague in Shimla, Rohru and the neighbouring Uttaranchal which have claimed 3 lives.

This has been done to keep the doctors available for meeting any eventuality at the district headquarters and in the interior areas.

Reports said that of the five patients suspected to be suffering from pneumonic plague in the hospital at Rohru, condition of one Banku Lal was causing concern as he was not responding to the treatment. No new case of the disease came to the hospital today.

Not taking any chance, a team of doctors from Himachal Pradesh has been rushed to the Banpur village of Uttaranchal where one woman died yesterday. Her relatives, who remained with her when she had contracted the disease, were also being given treatment. The residents of Banpur have contact with people at Rohru which was the nearest town for them.

Panicked by the death of patients, a large number of people thronged the hospitals at Jubbal and Rohru to procure antibiotic capsules which prevent the disease which was highly communicable. Similar was the position at the state capital here as doctors in the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) and the Deendayal Upadhaya Hospital (DDUH) were receiving series of telephone calls from people seeking guidance for preventing the disease.

The sale of Doxycycline, Tetracycline and masks has increased suddenly here.The state government today procured 2 lakh capsules of these medicines and rushed these to the affected areas with orders to provide these to the people on demand. One lakh capsules were dispatched there earlier. Reports said that government officials working at Rohru and Jubbal have sent requisition to the local hospitals for these capsules.

House-to-house distribution of these medicines has been started at Sarswatinagar as a precautionary measure.

An isolation room was prepared on war footing in the DDUH this afternoon to meet any eventuality. A separate control room has also been established in the hospital to flash information regarding any suspected case of the disease.

A team of three doctors of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases(NICD) visited the IGMC here this morning before leaving for Rohru and examined the results of the sputum of Ms Asha Devi which had indicated “yersinia pestis” which was a positive sign of pneumonic plague. Her another test is also reported to have shown positive signs of the disease.

However, the team members were tight lipped and did not say anything about prevelance of the disease. They said that it could take even six months to reach a final conclusion. They faxed their report to the Director of the NICD at Delhi.

Meanwhile, amidst reports of financial distress of attendants of patients sent to the PGI,Chandigarh, the State Government has ordered the Deputy Commissioner, Solan, to provide on the spot cash assistance to such people.

The Himachal Health Minister, Mr J.P. Nadda, reviewed the position and said that over 1.70 lakh capsules had so far been distributed in the affected areas.

He appealed to the people not to panic as the government was prepared to cope with the problem.Back


Plague-hit show improvement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Hope and relief appeared in the PGI here as first signs of improvement in the condition of six out of the seven persons suffering from what is thought to be the deadly pneumonic plague, were visible today. Stating that the condition of one person was still serious and none of them was completely out of danger, Dr S. Verma, Head of the Department of Internal Medicine and Chairman of the core committee constituted to take care of these patients, said that the condition of these patients had certainly improved since yesterday.

Dr Verma also confirmed that no more patients either from the city or outside had arrived in the hospital with symptoms similar to the ones with which these patients were presented. He also informed that no PGI employee had been affected by the disease as all possible precautions were being taken in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Dr Meera Sharma, Head of the Department of Microbiology coordinating the investigations of causal agent of the disease, stated that they had succeeded in growing the disease causing bacteria in a cultured environment and all that remained was the identification of the bacteria which would take another two days.

A UNI report from Shimla stated that doctors at the PGI, Chandigarh, today said pathological tests had confirmed that Sulochana, wife of a farmer from Jubbal in Shimla district, died of plague yesterday.

However, the PGI Director S.K. Sharma said tests were still in process to find out the exact cause of disease.Back

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