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Plague creates panic in India

Four people are confirmed dead from pneumonic plague in northern India. Doctors had feared an outbreak of the plague from a remote village of Himachal Pradesh state after several people suffered the symptoms of pneumonic plague. //

"The sequence of tests collectively confirmed that the cases related to infection with yersinia pestis, commonly known as pneumonic plague," Federal Health Minister C.P. Thakur said. "The good news is that the disease has not spread to any other area and there have been no new cases in the last one week. We don't feel the need to issue any alert advising people to stay away from the area" Thakur said.

The first victim died on February 4 after he had gone hunting in a forest last month and had been possibly infected by a wild rat. The highly contagious disease later killed three of his relatives. Twelve more infected people from the same village were being treated at nearby hospitals.

Thakur said about 8000 people in the affected area had been given preventive antibiotics. Most villages and transport vehicles had been fumigated and local authorities had been asked to stay on alert.

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