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Swine Flu strikes in the Amazon

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    Posted: November 09 2009 at 4:16am

Swine flu reaches Yanomami Indians in the Amazon

The deaths happened in forest villages near Venezuela's border with Brazil over the past 2 1/2 weeks, said Raidan Bernade, a Venezuelan doctor on a team sent to contain the outbreak and treat the ill.

Bernade told The Associated Press that doctors confirmed one of those who died had swine flu — a 35-year-old Yanomami woman who doctors believe was pregnant.

Six babies, the oldest of whom was about 1 year old, died from similar symptoms, though samples weren't taken in time to confirm it was swine flu, Bernade said by phone from La Esmeralda, a riverside town at the edge of the vast rain forest territory where the Yanomami live.

He said the victims had fever and coughing at first, and suffered complications from pneumonia.

The deaths were reported Wednesday by the London-based indigenous rights group Survival International, which warned that if not properly contained the virus could spread and cause more deaths among people who are particularly susceptible to disease due to their limited contact with the outside world.

Yamilet Mirabal, the government's deputy minister of indigenous affairs for the region, told the AP she was informed of six Yanomami deaths suspected of being due to swine flu. She said the outbreak was detected about three weeks ago and health officials have taken precautions since to prevent the illness from spreading.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez acknowledged Tuesday night that the virus reached some indigenous settlements, though he didn't mention the Yanomami or give details.

comment: further news found in news link to Chron- an AP affiliate - a significant development in the continued spread of 'something respiratory' is that these are not being confirmed as H1N1 deaths nor are tests being done to see if there is a mutation in the virus.

This is hitting babies - one year olds- a contact of our here had a one-year old in the hospital with Swine Flu. The is contrary to the flu urban legends young children under 2 are safe from this strain of flu, where previously low immunity served as some protecion against cytokine storm which is the real killer. We will continue to watch Brazil, because according to our local contact in Brazil, the flu had backed off and the last wave which was causing more deaths than any other country in the world after the virus mutated- seemed to be gone.

If this is a beginning of another wave of infection in Brazil, this will indicated we have a disease which is breaking the classic pattern of 3 waves maximum, and some people are at least relapsing many times and still cannot shake this virus.


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