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VOLUME 47 , ISSUE 2 ( April-June, 2013 ) > List of Articles


Socioenvironmental Etiology of Plague Outbreak in Himachal Pradesh: A Retrospective Enquiry

Harvinder Kaur, Yachna Sharma, Rupali Raj Kessar

Citation Information : Kaur H, Sharma Y, Kessar RR. Socioenvironmental Etiology of Plague Outbreak in Himachal Pradesh: A Retrospective Enquiry. J Postgrad Med Edu Res 2013; 47 (2):112-116.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10028-1067

Published Online: 01-06-2013

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2013; The Author(s).



(1) To ascertain various socioepidemiological factors related to 2002 plague outbreak in Himachal Pradesh (HP). (2) To elucidate the sylvatic cycle of plague bacilli transmission.

Materials and methods

The study was conducted among affected families during 2002 HP plague outbreak. The opinion of natives of plague affected Hatkoti belt of HP, Gujjars and health care staff about etiology, proneness, sustenance, spread, control and prevention of plague were explored. Blood samples and fleas were collected from the domestic, peridomestic and wild rodents trapped from these areas. These were investigated entomologically and microbiologically in PGIMER, Chandigarh.


Overall 159 rodents and 22 fleas were collected from wild and domestic areas. Three species of rodents were identified; Rattus rattus, Rattus norvegicus and Peromyscus leucopus. Similarly, three flea species namely Nosopsyllus fasciatus, Epitedia wenmanni and Leptopsylla segnis were extracted. Serum and blood samples (n = 49) collected from rodents showed Gram-positive bacilli (GPB), Gram-positive cocci (GPC) and diphtheroid bacilli.

Respondent villagers and Gujjars believed that plague outbreak occurred due to wrath of God and other supernatural forces. The villagers and health workers were of the view that exposure of people to plague was due to deep forest exploration for hunting.


The lifestyle of people and other social factors played a crucial role in plague outbreak in the area. The sylvatic cycle persisted in plague prone areas of HP.

How to cite this article

Kaur H, Goel S, Sharma Y, Kessar RR, Singh A. Socioenvironmental Etiology of Plague Outbreak in Himachal Pradesh: A Retrospective Enquiry. J Postgrad Med Edu Res 2013;47(2):112-116.

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