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Brit TV company blamed for Peruvian tribal deaths

Researcher carried flu, claim indigenous locals

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Indigenous tribes in southeastern Peru are demanding film and TV crews be banned from their territories around the Madre de Dios river after attributing the deaths of four members of the Matsigenka tribe to flu carried by a visiting British TV production company.

Local communities insist a researcher from London-based Cicada Films, who was on a reccy for a TV show entitled World's Lost Tribes, is responsible for the demise of the quartet - three of them children. Accordingly, the Native Federation of River Madre de Dios and Subsidiaries, which represents local groups, has called for the ban.

According to the Times Glenn Shephard, "a US anthropologist who has studied the Matsigenka for 20 years", said: "I warned [Cicada] specifically that their visit to the isolated villages of the Cumerjali* could pose a health risk to the people."

Cicada issued a statement in which it "emphatically denied" any wrongdoing. It said: "When we arrived we found local people already ill with symptoms and signs of respiratory disease. The researcher and his guide did not visit the area where the deaths are said to have occurred and no deaths occurred amongst the individuals they met." ®

Bootnote

*A river in the Madre de Dios region. The Madre de Dios itself runs from Peru, through Bolivia and eventually becomes Brazil's mighty Madeira tributory of the Amazon.

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