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Amazon tribe gets influenza: Did scientists or drug dealers give them the virus?

An isolated tribe in the Amazon that reached out to scientists out of desperation went back to their home with a deadly visitor. On Thursday, Fox News reports that the five men and two women of a tribe located in the Amazon forest had to quickly be isolated and quarantined from the rest of their tribe when they learned they had contracted influenza.

For their immune systems, a virus that is easily treatable could be deadly, since they’ve never been exposed or been able to build up immunity The group emerged voluntarily on three separate occasions to meet with a settled community living in Simpatia. However, on their last visit, on June 30, representatives of Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department noted that members of the group were showing signs of sickness.

In July, the men and women received treatment and vaccines and were kept aware from the equally vulnerable members of their tribe. They returned to their tribe on July 11.

The reason these members of the tribe reached out to the scientists is that they’ve been harassed by members of the non-scientific community. According to the researchers, the tribe members said that non-indian men have shot at them . Officials believe these men could be illegal loggers or drug traffickers who have moved into the area.

Now, officials have reopened a post in the area to help protect these vulnerable tribes. The post has been closed since 2011, when it was overrun by traffickers and illegal loggers. As another step to help monitor these tribes, the indian affairs agency will work with authorities in Peru to keep the isolated people protected.

Though the seven members of the tribe were vaccinated and quarantined, no one can be certain when they first came into contact with the virus and where. The likely answer would appear to be from the settled community, but we have no information of just how close of contact the tribe has had with their attackers. Officials are now seriously concerned that the rest of their tribe may fall dangerously ill.

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