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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Nov 27;363(1510):3675-8. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0082.

Early perceptions of an epidemic.

Author information

1
Department of History and Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, SOPHI, University of Sydney, A14-Quadrangle, NSW 2006, Australia. wanderson@usyd.edu.au

Abstract

This article surveys some descriptions of the Fore people made on early contact in the 1950s by patrol officers, social anthropologists and medical doctors. Sorcery accusations and cannibalism initially impressed these outside observers, though gradually they came to realize that a strange and fatal condition called kuru was a major affliction of the Fore, especially women and children. Fore attributed kuru to sorcery, anthropologists speculated on psychosomatic causes and medical officers began to wonder if it was a mysterious encephalitis.

PMID:
18849281
PMCID:
PMC2735509
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2008.0082
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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