The mystery of the plague : The Tribune India

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Lahore, Friday, May 16, 1924

The mystery of the plague



It is rather curious that while over the greater part of India, plague has come to be regarded as an affliction that is past, extremely serious outbreaks of this epidemic have during the last six months sent so many lakhs of people in Punjab to the grave. This disease has been hanging like a black shadow over this province since 1900 and the loss of life due to it has in most years been quite calamitous. In 1906, the number of deaths rose to the appalling figure of seven lakh, while the total loss in population to Punjab, since its first invasion in 1900, has been about 30 lakh out of a total of one crore and two lakh for the whole of India. This is indeed a terrible toll taken from a people who are not only superior in physique to the inhabitants of other provinces but on the whole are the least averse to the destruction of rats. May we hope that the Punjab Government will adopt special measures for the eradication of this dreaded epidemic. From past experience, it is clear that this disease follows more or less a regular course in its progress, and having reached its climax in April, begins to decline in May and becomes practically extinct by June. It is not at all, therefore, safe to infer from the gradual fall in the mortality figures that are published by the Public Health Department that plague is finally leaving the province. Again, it is no consolation to the public to know that is the rat or rather the rat-flea which is the source of the mischief, unless a wholesale campaign of rat-killing and fumigation is carried out under the supervision of the authorities.


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