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  • Indigenous people protest for medical care on COVID-19. Loreto, Peru. Loreto, Peru. July 13, 2020.

    Indigenous people protest for medical care on COVID-19. Loreto, Peru. Loreto, Peru. July 13, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @aidesep_org

Published 13 July 2020
Opinion

The Nahua people are vulnerable to respiratory diseases, given the high rates of mercury in their blood.

Peru’s Interethnic Association for the Development of the Forest (Aidesep) Monday confirmed five COVID-19 positive cases among the Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon.

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“First it (the virus) was installed in the communities, and now it has also reached the villages in initial contact in Ucayali and is threatening those living in voluntary isolation,” Aidesep tweeted.

Local health authorities reported about six positive cases in  Kugakaphori, Nahua, and Nanti communities’ reserves. The virus’ outbreak locates Santa Rosa de Serjalí, a Nahua people settlement, housing 129 families.

The first infected subject was a 47-years-old, not an indigenous man, who had clinical symptoms. After his condition worsened, he tested positive to COVID-19.

According to local health authorities, the man contracted the virus in Sepahua facilities, was a part of the community isolated voluntarily. They estimate contagion spreading is larger than considered given tests kits the infectiveness. 

Nahua people are vulnerable to respiratory diseases, given the high rates of mercury in their blood. In 1980, about half of their population died due to respiratory issues.

So far, about 150 indigenous from eight different ethnic groups have tested positive, and no deceases. 

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