Native populations 'at increased swine flu risk'

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Washington, Oct 11 (ANI): While the entire world is traumatised by the news of swine flu pandemic, it is the native people who are suffering a swine flu infection rate four to five times higher than that of the general population, says a recent report.

The world's indigenous people-tribes and other groups who inhabit the lands where, as far as anyone knows, their ancestors arose-are at greatest risk from the swine flu pandemic, according to native-rights groups.

The report by Survival International, a London-based group that advocates for native cultures, has revealed that many factors make native people more vulnerable to the globally widespread virus, which so far has proven to be no more dangerous than the seasonal flu.

And experts say that one of the reasons could be that native peoples' immune systems are particularly vulnerable to outside germs.

"Isolated peoples have little or no immunity to outside diseases, meaning that any contact with outsiders with swine flu could spell disaster for the tribes," National Geographic News quoted Stephen Corry, director of Survival International as saying.

In addition, native groups often have relatively low standards of living, which puts the groups behind the curve, in terms education, public health, and infrastructure, according to the report.

Many indigenous communities live in poverty, with poor sanitation, and overcrowding. (ANI)

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