A Historical Report of Plague Outbreak in Northern Kermanshah Province, Western Iran, in 1952

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Epidemiology, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran


Plague is an infectious disease transmitted from rodents to humans. This disease is considered an endemic disease in western Iran. The last officially reported case of human plague in Iran was in 1965. In the last few decades, human plague has been reported in Iran’ neighboring countries. Also, according to some recent evidence witnessing infected rodents in western Iran, it is probable to have new outbreaks of the disease in the near future in Iran. Thus, it is very important for the physicians and health care personnel to know how the disease can transmit. . This study is a report of the outbreak of the disease in Gavmichan village in northern Kermanshah province in 1952, based on the available historical reports. In this outbreak, the diagnoses were confirmed by getting biopsies of parotid, auxiliary and groin glands, running bacteriology tests, smears and cultures and injecting guinea pigs. During this 20-day outbreak, 14 people were infected, of whom eight died. In 11 cases (78.57% of the patients), a close association with an infected patient was reported. Fever and swollen lymph nodes was the frequent clinical symptoms in the patients. The mean (SD) duration of the infection until death was 4.26 (0.42) days. Apparently the source of this outbreak was the wild animals in the fields around the village. It is recommended to do a comprehensive study in the western region of the country to determine the status of the plague and to monitor the disease in this region. Health care workers should be alerted to the current status of the disease in order to be able to respond appropriately to potential outbreaks.