From August 26, 1994, outbreaks of bubonic and pneumonic plague were reported in south-central, south-western, and northern India. Because most of the reports were unconfirmed, the extent of the outbreaks was unclear. However, a total of 693 suspected bubonic or pneumonic plague cases with positive test results for antibodies to Yersinia pestis were reported by India to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Cases were reported from five states, Maharashtra (488 cases), Gujarat (77 cases), Karnataka (46 cases), Uttar Pradesh (10 cases), and Madhya Pradesh (4 cases) and from the federal district of New Delhi (68 cases). Some 156 fatal plague cases were reported nationwide.
On September 22, 1994, cases of pneumonic plague were found in the city of Surat, Gujarat. By September 26, several hundred pneumonic plague cases and numerous deaths were noted. Surat was officially closed.
The Relief Operation
The Sanstha has an active centre in Surat. As soon as the outbreak of the plague was reported, Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj ordered medicines to be sent immediately to the city.
More than 1,00,000 Tetracycline tablets and mouth-guides were distributed free.
Moreover, the volunteers of the Sanstha served food and tea to more than 3,000 pneumonic plague patients in the Civil Hospital of Surat for more than one month on request of the Collector of Surat.