Ignorling early warnings

Although the plague was thought to have been sent packing in 1966, isolated suspected cases have since been reported, the most recent being from Him Pradesh in 1984. Besides, since 1989, the NICD's Bangalore-based Pla Surveillance Unit has been rattling off outbreak predictions - all of them binned.

Serum tests of wild rodents conducted regularly in the '90s in Tamil 10 Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, considered to be plague-endemic arem often shown positive. Moreover, when entomologists Manoj Kumar Nayak Sehgal and V Baweja of Delhi University's zoology department studied plague-prone areas of Kolar and Pune in 1"I, they found an increase in incidence of plague fleas Xenopsylla cheopis and Xenopsylla astia. Their I ings were published in the Indian Journal of Entomology in January this Year.

Besides, after a study of the region devastated by last September's n quake in Maharashtra, an NICD team headed by A K Bhattacharya reported the area was susceptible to the plague.