Aizawl, May 23 (IANS) Mizoram, where the first Covid-19 death was reported on October 28, 2020, six months after the northeast regions first coronavirus fatality in Assam and seven months after Indias first in Karnataka, has formed a study panel to examine the causes of the spread of the contagious disease.
With a 1.1 million population (2011 census), India’s second least populous state Mizoram is the only state where out of the 11 districts, only four districts — Aizawl (27), Serchhip (1), Kolasib (1) and Saitual (1) — have reported 30 deaths due to Covid-19.
The state’s Health and Family Welfare Department Secretary R. Lalramnghaka said that the Mizoram government has recently formed a team comprising medical experts and scientists to conduct a scientific study on all aspects of the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
The team comprises experts from the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), Indian Medical Association, Principal of the Zoram Medical College and Hospital (ZMCH) and professors from Mizoram University.
“After studying all the aspects of the Covid-19 and its related effect, the team would submit a detailed report with their findings and recommendations to the government for taking further course of steps,” Lalramnghaka told IANS over phone.
Mizoram’s Health and Family Welfare Minister R. Lalthangliana has in a meeting with members of the study team asked for an in-depth study and research on the spread of the coronavirus specially the second wave of Covid-19 as it is different from the first wave.
Of the 1.1 million population in Mizoram, tribals constitute around 95 per cent, the highest proportion of tribals among the Indian states.
Though Mizoram and a few other northeastern states had once suffered from malaria leading to many deaths, most tribals due to their healthy and traditional food habits (mostly boiled food) and lifestyle remained unaffected from many diseases compared to the mainland states.
However, in recent years, due to the use of tobacco products and drugs, prevalence of cancer and HIV/AIDS is rising in a few northeastern states including Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya.
Health officials in different northeastern states said that unlike in the first wave children below 15 years are also being tested for Covid-19 in reasonable numbers during the second wave in Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, forcing the governments of several states to constitute panels of paediatric doctors.
As the nature and intensity of the second wave of Covid-19 are diverse, physician Pradip Bhowmik has suggested forming study groups for an in-depth study of the disease.
“It is witnessed in the second wave that during the post-Covid period many patients are being affected by pneumonia and mucormycosis (black fungus).
“Unlike in the first wave, a large number of young people and children are being infected by the coronavirus. In the second wave the recovery rate is very slow and the death rate is higher,” Bhowmik told IANS.
He said that it is being observed that Indian strains of the virus are more dangerous then the UK and Brazilian variants.
Bhowmik, who is an expert in Hepatitis disease and has worked on the disease in the northeastern states and Bangladesh, said that genetically tribals’ immunity is always better but they are also falling prey to Covid-19, necessitating a serious study.
Around 10,024 positive cases have been detected in Mizoram so far, while the state’s active caseload stood at 2,473 on Saturday evening.
A 50-year-old man, who had returned to Aizawl from Amsterdam in the Netherlands via Delhi and Guwahati on March 16 last year, tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Mizoram on March 24 last year.
A 62-year-old man died of Covid-19 on October 28 last year at the ZMCH in Mizoram registering the first Covid related mortality in the Christian dominated state, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The victim had comorbidities.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)