Darkness in El Dorado Controversy - Archived Document

Internet Source: Anthropology in the News Website
Source URL (Archive.org): http://www.tamu.edu/anthropology/Cox.html

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

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


December 21, 1967

Dr. Miguel Layrisse
Instituto Venezolano do Investigaciones Cientifices
Apartado 1827

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

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