Though the mystery behind the mystery fever has now been unravelled, it continues to grip pockets of half of the 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh and has claimed 19 lives this year, adding upto 36 in the past three years. While more than 225 people have been admitted to various hospitals, there’s no count of those being treated by private doctors.
The first symptoms of the high-grade fever were noticed in July 2001 and experts were at a loss to explain what it was, how it was caused and its diagnoses. Experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi, too kept visiting Shimla and took blood samples but failed to identify the disease.
The disease strikes each year during the monsoon and it has been observed that heavier the rains, higher the incidence of the disease. Yesterday, the NICD called up Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital authorities to convey that it had been identified as Scrub Typhus, an aggravated form of Rickettsia which is transmitted by rats, flea and mite.