Members of a Previously Isolated Brazilian Indigenous Tribe Have Caught the Flu

Last month for the first time in nearly 20 years, the Brazilian government made contact with a previously isolated indigenous tribe.

But now, the clashing of cultures has taken a turn for the worse, and illegal logging might soon be the least of the tribe’s threats.

Each of the seven tribe members who first interacted with people outside the tribe got the flu, according to FUNAI, the Brazilian agency that deals with indigenous populations.


Credit: Uncontacted Tribes

Even worse, they’ve now returned back to the rainforest, putting the rest of the previously isolated people at risk of disease and possible death.

“During the contact made by the Indians, the whole group contracted influenza and received prompt health care at the scene,” FUNAI wrote.

A study by Scientific Reports shows that after contact, indigenous tribes generally see their population plummet.


Credit: Scientific Reports

While tribes are familiar with natural medicines from the Amazon rainforest, it will be difficult for them to treat diseases they’ve never seen before — like the flu.

It’s not clear if any other diseases were also been picked up.

FUNAI has said they will return to the area and continue to vaccinate tribe members.

The tribe had been living in the rainforest with no communication with people outside the Amazon until they were discovered three years ago.

It’s believed the group was likely forced to take refuge from illegal logging in the Amazon rainforest, which is what lead to their discovery.

WHERE TO WATCH