Eastman Kodak to help medical expedition to Brazilian rain forest

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Eastman Kodak Co. has contributed some of its medical imaging technologies to an eight-week medical expedition to the indigenous tribes of the remote Vale do Javari region in the Brazilian rain forest.

The "Expedition Imagem do Javari" began on Monday and for the first time will bring advanced medical imaging healthcare to the region to diagnose and treat contagious diseases that pose a threat to the population's survival.

Kodak's Health Imaging group has donated computed radiography (CR) and a picture archiving and communications system (PACS). The company says the digital imaging technology is in keeping with what it describes as the "delicate ecosystem of the Brazilian rain forest since no chemical processing is required."

Physicians leading the expedition will travel by boat deep into the rain forest, acquire digital x-ray images of tribe members and send the images and accompanying medical reports via satellite to a state-of-the-art radiology clinic in southern Brazil.

There, a team of physicians will perform analyses and will prescribe medication and other first-aid items as appropriate to each individual's needs. The physicians also will begin to develop a longer-term strategy to combat future disease outbreaks.

The expedition team expects to screen between 800 to 1,000 individuals within the Matis, Marubo, Kanamari and Korubo tribes.

Spending four to 10 days in each village performing radiological exams, ultrasounds and blood tests, they expect to detect infectious diseases such as hepatitis A, B and Delta; yellow fever; malaria; and tuberculosis. Because of their isolation, the tribal populations lack the immunity to fight off diseases that may have been transmitted as a result of contact with Western society, even those diseases that would be considered relatively benign in many parts of the world.