A 15-YEAR-OLD has become the first coronavirus case in a remote Amazon tribe amid fears the deadly bug could wipe out native communities.
The teenager, from the Yanomami tribe along the Brazilian-Venezuelan border, was taken to intensive care with Covid-19 symptoms.
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The lad was admitted after suffering with shortness of breath, chest pain, a sore throat and fever on April 3
Although he initially tested negative, a second examination proved positive.
According to the country's Globo newspaper, the boy travelled back to his reserve on the banks of the Mucajaí River after his school classes were suspended due to Brazil's outbreak.
He has since been taken to the General Hospital of Roraima in Brazil's northernmost state.
The Yanomami tribe is believed to be the largest indigenous people in Brazil and occupies over 200 villages across 2.3million acres.
There is an incredible risk of the virus spreading across the native communities and wiping them out.Federal University of São Paulo researcher Dr Sofia Mendonça
Seven tribesmen have reportedly contracted the deadly virus across the Amazon states of Pará, Amazonas and Roraima.
Brazil's medical experts now fear that the country's indigenous communities face an unprecedented crisis.
Tribal elders are most vulnerable to the lethal effects of the virus, and their deaths would have a significant impact on the tribe's hierarchy and wisdom passed down through generations.
To tackle the outbreak, members of some communities are reportedly breaking off into smaller groups equipped with hunting supplies to isolate themselves.
Federal University of São Paulo researcher Dr Sofia Mendonça told BBC News: "There is an incredible risk of the virus spreading across the native communities and wiping them out.
"Everyone gets sick, and you lose all the old people, their wisdom and social organization. It's chaos."
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There are currently 18,176 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Brazil and 957 deaths.
Earlier this month an indigenous woman in a village deep in the Amazon rainforest also contracted the novel coronavirus, the first case reported among Brazil's more than 300 tribes, the Health Ministry's indigenous health service Sesai said.
The 20-year-old woman from the Kokama tribe tested positive for the virus in the district of Santo Antonio, near the border with Colombia some 880 km (550 miles) up the Amazon river from the state capital Manaus.
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