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The Plague of 1994

First Online: May 01, 2006
Page Last Updated: May 09, 2017

In October of year 1994, pneumonic plague, a close derivative of the dreaded bubonic plague, typically spread by a rodent flea, broke out in the state of Gujarat, and caused tremendous chaos and panic in the industrial city of Surat. Widespread coverage of the Plague in western media brought very bad publicity to India's emerging ambitions, and many countries stopped the flights and transportatio to India.

Fortunately, the epidemic turned out to be a weaker variant, and was successfully contained with mass killing of rats, and help from the central government. Even though the spread was fairly small (estimated 50 people died of the disease), the resulting panic brought to light unhygienic living conditions in India and inability of the administrations to react quickly to contain the outbreak.

-Vikas Kamat


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