Sunday, February 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

PGI sounds plague alert
Himachal Governor, CM visit patients
Tribune News Service

The PGI has requested the state governments to manage their own patients and avoid sending them to the PGI since travelling long distances can make the disease spread.

Chandigarh, February 23
Even as the Himachal Pradesh Governor, Chief Minister and a former Chief Minister visited the PGI today to assure the five Himachali patients suffering from plague, the PGI sounded high alert in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh following the arrival of another patient, Karamjit, to the hospital with plague-like symptoms from a village on the Mansa-Bathinda border in Punjab.

The infection is believed to have spread to Karamjit from her husband, Krishan Singh, a resident of Kansal village, Ropar district, who died on February 20 at the PGI. Krishan Singh had reportedly come in contact with the patients from Himachal in the PGI emergency while attending to his brother there. The patients from Himachal were at the PGI emergency for more than 30 hours before they were shifted to the isolation wards.

Krishan Singh, who worked with an iron welding workshop in Sector 29, fell ill on February 16 and got treatment at a private hospital in SAS Nagar. When his condition worsened, he was referred to the PGI on February 19 where he stayed for seven hours in the emergency and died in the wee hours of February 20. No autopsy was carried out on the patient who was declared to have been suffering from pneumonic sepsis. A death certificate to this effect was also issued to the relatives of the patient by the PGI.

Krishan Singh’s body was taken by the relatives to Mansa, his home town. Karamjit Kaur started complaining of similar symptoms her husband had died of. She was brought to the PGI last night and has been in the isolation ward since. According to the doctors in charge of the situation, her condition is better.

Meanwhile, the Punjab state heath authorities and the Chandigarh Administration have sprung into action following this incident. Teams of doctors and community health workers have visited Kansal village and apprised Krishan Singh’s neighbours of the situation.

The PGI has also directed the private hospital in SAS Nagar and the General Hospital, Sector 16, to start prophylactic medication of all those who came in contact with Krishan Singh while he was ill.

Meanwhile, it was a hectic day for the PGI authorities with Himachal Pradesh Governor, Suraj Bhan, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and former Chief Minister Sukh Ram visiting the hospital one after the other.

While the Governor and the Chief Minister met the relatives of the five plague patients admitted to the PGI and assured them of all possible help, Mr Sukh Ram provided them with monetary help of Rs 50,000 collected from villagers in the Jubbal and Hathkoti areas.

The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts of the Himachal Health Department and the PGI in trying to contain the disease. None of the VIPs was allowed to visit the communicable diseases ward since the arrival of a fresh case there.

The condition of two of the five patients from Himachal, however, remains serious while Satya, sister of Sulochna, who succumbed to the disease, is expected to be discharged within two days.


NICD team arrives today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The process is again on for trying to confirm whether the fresh patient who has been admitted to the PGI is plague patient or not. A team from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) will be coming to the PGI tomorrow to collect information and samples of the fresh patient who has been admitted to the PGI. The PGI has collected its samples and is conducting tests.

Stating that they are only making a retrospective analysis about Krishan Singh’s death, doctors in the PGI are still not sure if Krishan Singh died of plague. But since a substantial link between Krishan Singh and the patients from Himachal has been established, and considering the fact that he died of a pneumonic illness, it is being presumed to be plague. This takes the toll of those who have died of plague to five.

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