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Paraguay: 'Mysterious' epidemic kills recently-contacted tribe members one by one

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  • Paraguay: 'Mysterious' epidemic kills recently-contacted tribe members one by one

    I think it's a form of genocide to be forcing this tribe out of the forest. Some countries afford more protection to endangered non-humans.
    Mysterious epidemic kills recently-contacted tribe one by one 6 April 2014

    Almost all the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians who have been forced out of the forest, some as recently as 2004, have suffered from rare respiratory diseases since.

    Like other uncontacted tribes, the Ayoreo had no immunity to outsiders? diseases.


    Nixiwaka Yawanaw?, a Yawanaw? Indian from the Brazilian Amazon, who joined Survival International to speak out for indigenous rights said, ?It is shocking that the Paraguayan government does not take steps to protect the Ayoreo?s territory. We are seeing a massacre because of these mysterious diseases, a true human crime in the eyes of the world. The government must act now to prevent a disaster.?...

    Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic H.R. 834

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  • #2
    Re: Paraguay: 'Mysterious' epidemic kills recently-contacted tribe members one by one

    Here's a decent list of possible pathogens:

    Published Date: 2014-04-10 02:34:49
    Subject: PRO/EDR> Undiagnosed illness - Paraguay: (Chaco Region) respiratory, fatal, RFI
    Archive Number: 20140410.2393907

    ************************************************** ****************************************
    A ProMED-mail post
    ProMED-mail is a program of the
    International Society for Infectious Diseases

    Date: Tue 8 Apr 2014
    Source: The West Australian [edited]

    A mysterious, tuberculosis-like illness is threatening members of a South American tribe who live a basic life and still hunt in the Amazon forest for a living. Tribal rights group Survival International has warned that the disease may wipe out the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe from Paraguay's Chaco region. The International Business Times reports that the Totobiegosode are the most isolated sub groups of Ayoreo tribe of the Paraguayan Chaco. They were first contacted in 2004.

    "The deadly epidemic threatens to wipe out Paraguay's recently contacted Ayoreo tribe, and sets a deadly precedent for their relatives still hiding in the forests, who are the last uncontacted Indians outside the Amazon," the organisation said in a statement. Cattle ranchers burn the Indians' land to establish their ranches, forcing out the tribal people. Almost all the Ayoreo members, who have been forced out of their lands, have suffered from the rare disease, the IBT reports. "The most recent Ayoreo victim killed by the respiratory disease was forced out of the forest in 1986. He died in October 2013," Survival International said.

    An unknown number of relatives of these indigenous people are still uncontacted and are threatened by the epidemic. "When uncontacted people are forced into contact with outside society disease swiftly follows. Here is proof that forced contact is nothing more than a death sentence for tribal peoples," Survival's director Stephen Corry said.

    communicated by:


    [The Chaco Region is a hot and semi-arid lowland in the Rio de la Plata basin that is divided among eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay, northern Argentina and a portion of the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul ( For a map of this region, see Many of those living in the region are native peoples. The Paraguayan Chaco or Region Occidental (Western Region) is being rapidly deforested to make way for profitable cattle ranching, which has changed the land's ecology and displaced indigenous people from their ancestral land (

    Human activities such as the movement of susceptible populations, for example the indigenous people of the Chaco Region, into endemic areas can result in increased exposure to novel pathogens. Poverty and malnutrition may also play a major role in increased susceptibility to disease produced by these pathogens. Examples of pathogens that are directly transmitted to indigenous people following contact with infected human hosts in the outside world include measles, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections. Environmental changes as a result of clearing of forested land, agricultural development, water projects, or urban sprawl, may make it favorable for new pathogens, their vectors, non-biological physical vehicles, or animal reservoirs to become established.

    According to the news release above, almost all the native people of the Chaco Region of Paraguay are said to develop an ultimately fatal illness soon after they are forced off their lands and make contact with outside people. Contact of native people of the Chaco Region with the outside world apparently has been going on for a long time -- perhaps at least 28 years according to the article above, although one group mentioned, the Totobiegosode, first made contact with outside people in 2004.

    The illness that the indigenous people in the Chaco Region have developed is described as "tuberculosis-like", but it is not described further. Tuberculosis is a chronic wasting, febrile illness with respiratory symptoms (such as cough and sputum production) that in some patients has a long latency after initial contact with the organism. Some of the organisms that can produce a TB-like illness include infections with certain fungi, such as in _Histoplasma capsulatum_, _Paracoccidioides brasiliensis_, and _Coccidioides posadasii _, and mycobacteria other than _Mycobacterium tuberculosis_. _H. capsulatum_, _C. posadasii _, and _P. brasiliensis_ are fungi that live in the soil. Inhaling the airborne fungal spores can cause infection. _C. posadasii _ and _P. brasiliensis_ are endemic in Paraguay, and _H. capsulatum_ is endemic in several neighboring countries ( Mycobacteria other than _M. tuberculosis_ are generally acquired from the inhalation of soil or contaminated water supply.

    Chronic pulmonary melioidosis and tuberculosis share common clinical features. Melioidosis is caused by _Burkholderia pseudomallei_ and is acquired through direct contact with contaminated soil and surface waters, especially through skin abrasions, inhalation of contaminated dust or water droplets, and ingestion of contaminated water. Sporadic cases have been reported from the Caribbean, and Central and South America (

    Visceral leishmaniasis, caused by _Leishmania chagasi_ is characterized by irregular bouts of fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anemia ( Its onset can be chronic, subacute, or acute. Asymptomatic infection can become clinically apparent up to decades after the exposure in people who become immunocompromised for other medical reasons (such as HIV/AIDS). Pulmonary symptoms have been observed in more than 75 per cent of patients with visceral leishmaniasis ( and Deforestation in Latin America has resulted in an increase in its incidence associated with an increase in the number of canine reservoirs and sandfly vectors ( Poor housing and domestic sanitary conditions (such as lack of waste management, open sewerage) may increase sandfly breeding and resting sites.

    A more detailed description of the illness affecting the indigenous people of the Chaco Region of Paraguay from knowledgeable sources would be greatly appreciated.

    Paraguay is a landlocked country in central South America, bordered by Argentina to the south and south west, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the north west. Paraguay has experienced rapid economic growth in the 21st century. In 2010, its economy grew by 14.5 per cent, the largest economic expansion in Latin America, and the 3rd fastest in the world (after Qatar and Singapore) ( - Mod.ML