Peru: Producers imported illness

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LONDON -- A British documentary producer has rejected accusations that his team was responsible for the deaths of four Peruvian tribesmen by introducing flu into the remote region while scouting for TV location spots for extreme explorers series "World's Lost Tribes."

London-based Cicada Films has denied suggestions by the Peruvian government and environmentalists that its researchers visited remote isolated communities despite being warned not to, then exposed the local communities to Western diseases to which they had no immunity.

According to wire reports, the Peruvian government has reported an outbreak of respiratory illness among the Matsigenka people who live in the remote Amazonian region of southeast Peru since a Cicada researcher and his guide had visited them.

Cicada has refuted the claims and said its scouts had not visited the region where the deaths had occurred.

"There is no evidence that the researcher introduced illness to the areas they visited. He did not seek out or visit isolated communities upriver," the company said. "The researcher and his guide did not visit the area where the deaths are said to have occurred, and no deaths occurred among the individuals they met. The researcher worked with experienced local guides and the relevant authorities."

Cicada Films, creator of such natural history docs as "Living With the Mek -- The Adventures of Mark and Olly" for the Travel Channel, has come under attack from environmental groups such as Survival International, which supports tribal peoples.

"These reality television crews are jeopardizing the future of indigenous communities around the world," the organization said.




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