Darkness in El Dorado - Archived Document
Anthropological Niche of Douglas W. Hume
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Source URL: http://www.tamu.edu/anthropology/Cox.html

Robert Cox rscox@amphilsoc.org
American Philosophical Society
105 South Fifth Street
Philadelphia, PA    19106-3386
215.440.3409
__________________________________


December 11, 1967

Dr. Miguel Layrisse
Instituto Venezolano do Investigaciones Cientifices
Apartado 1827
Caracas, Venezuela

Dear Dr. Layrisse:

     There seems to be a raging measles epidemic amongst the Yanomamo.
According to our information, measles was first introduced on the Brazilian
side, at Totootobi when the daughter of the missionary there, Keith Wardlaw,
came down with measles which she had presumably contracted when the family was
in Manaus on leave.  About the time, measles appeared in Mucujai.  We received
a letter about a month ago from Dr. Charles Patten, medical missionary in that
area, concerning the severity of the disease.  Now we have just had a letter
from Mr. Robert Shaylor, Chief of the new Tribes Mission on the Upper Orinoco,
that he has word that there is sickness amongst the Indians on the very high
Orinoco, possibly due to measles.

     I believe I can obtain about 2,000 immunizing doses of measles vaccine
free.  CAN YOU OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT FOR US TO
VACCINATE ALL THE INDIANS WE COME IN CONTACT WITH?  We know from our antibody
studies that the Venezuelan Yanomama have not yet been exposed to measles.

Sincerely yours,


James V. Neel, M.D.
Professor and Chairman

JVN/mrk



December 21, 1967

Dr. Miguel Layrisse
Instituto Venezolano do Investigaciones Cientifices
Apartado 1827
Caracas, VENEZUELA

Dear Dr. Layrisse:

     I have tried to write our IBP prospectus so that, although it is a
collaborative project, each of the persons concerned has as much freedom as
possible.  Thus, as it is now written, it is clear that you have a special
interest in the Warao and it would of course he highly appropriate that in
those studies you work with the anthropologist who knows them best, namely Dr.
Wilbert.  I did not send it directly to Weiner because I thought you should
see it first.  If there are aspects you would like to see restated, we can
arrange this when we meet in Venezuela.

     I have just had two long letters from Charles Brewer, in respect to some
of the details of the planning.  Your letter also contains many welcome
details.  It sounds as if things are moving quite well.  From our standpoint,
we are now quite busy in the final stages.  As I wrote Charles, we have
information that there is a bad measles outbreak on the Brazilian side; I have
now obtained 2000 doses of measles vaccine so that we can also innoculate the
Yanomama against this.  I am sure we will get every possible help from the
missionaries under these circumstances.

Best regards,

James V. Neel, M.D.
Chariman and Professor
Department of Human Genetics

JVN: cn
Enc.