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J Commun Dis. 2006 Dec;38(4):317-24.

Prompt laboratory diagnosis in timely containment of a plague outbreak in India.

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National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Delhi-110054.


A focal outbreak of pneumonic plague occurred in a hamlet of village Hatkoti, district Shimla, Himachal Pradesh in the first fortnight of February, 2002. A total of 16 cases with 4 deaths were reported. Diagnosis of plague was confirmed by the laboratory in 10 (63%) cases. Y. pestis was isolated from clinical samples of 3 cases and confirmed by bacteriophage lysis. Molecular tests confirmed the presence of Y. pestis specific pla and F1 genes in 4 cases; DNA fingerprinting had identity with the known sequence of plague bacilli. Paired samples from 5 cases showed more than 4 fold rise and 1 case showed more than 4 fold fall in antibodies against F1 antigen of Y. pestis. The present communication emphasises that timely and systematic laboratory investigations give confirmatory diagnosis in shortest possible time which forms the backbone of the outbreak control in a timely fashion and prevents confusion and controversy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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