Brazil confirms first indigenous coronavirus case within the Amazon

An indigenous lady in a village deep within the Amazon rainforest has contracted the novel coronavirus, the primary case reported amongst Brazil’s greater than 300 tribes, the Well being Ministry’s indigenous well being service Sesai stated on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old lady from the Kokama tribe examined constructive for the virus within the district of Santo Antonio do Içá, situated close to the border with Colombia some 880 km (550 miles) up the Amazon river from the state capital Manaus.


“Sadly, now we have an indigenous individual with the virus,” stated a Sesait spokeswoman by phone.

The affected person, whose identify was not made public, is a medical employee who had traveled upriver to a number of villages, together with the city of Tabatinga, and returned residence with fever, a sore throat and chest pains, the O Globo newspaper reported.

4 instances of coronavirus have been confirmed in the identical district, together with a Brazilian physician who examined constructive final week, elevating fears that the epidemic might unfold to distant and susceptible indigenous communities with devastating impact.


The physician, whose identify was not made public, had returned from trip in southern Brazil to work with the Tikunas, one of many largest tribe within the Amazon with greater than 30,000 individuals who reside within the higher Amazon close to the borders with Colombia and Peru.

Well being consultants warn that the spreading virus may very well be deadly for Brazil’s 850,000 indigenous folks, who’ve been decimated for hundreds of years by ailments introduced by Europeans, from smallpox and malaria to the flu.

Well being consultants say the indigenous peoples’ lifestyle in communal hamlets below massive thatched constructions will increase the chance of contagion if any single member contracts the virus, which causes the typically deadly respiratory illness COVID-19.