When she and her husband bought their dream home in the Amazon rainforest in Peru in the early 1970s, the couple had no idea they would end up in one of the most iconic pictures of Amazonian culture.
But now, a year later, the Amazon is on the verge of an historic moment: The World Health Organization has declared the region the most dangerous place on earth to work.
The news, released Monday, comes on the heels of a report that showed a record-breaking rise in malaria cases, including more than 2,000 cases per day in just the first nine months of this year.
The WHO estimates that the death toll from the virus in the region, known as “Makuta,” has reached almost 3 million.
And as more and more workers leave the region to escape the deadly pandemic, the region is seeing an uptick in the number of cases, particularly among young adults.
Many are leaving to seek jobs in other regions in the country, including the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, but experts say it’s also happening elsewhere in the world.
“In places like India, China, the Philippines, and Brazil, there’s been a significant rise in cases, as well,” said John R. Campbell, the head of the Global Health Research Network at Columbia University.
Campbell said the global response to the pandemic has helped spur a boom in the use of e-commerce to facilitate the trade of goods from many regions of the world, including Brazil and the Amazon.
But it’s not just Amazonian jobs that are being flooded.
The region has seen an unprecedented increase in migration, according to Campbell.
The numbers of foreign workers seeking jobs in the area have also increased, and many have been coming from countries with high unemployment rates, such as China, where some 30 million people are still unemployed, according the International Labor Organization.
The number of people moving to the region has also grown faster than the population of the country as a whole.
In the first quarter of this 2017, Brazil recorded its highest migration in more than three decades, and its largest in over five decades, according data from the Brazilian Ministry of Labor.
In addition to the huge numbers of migrant workers, Campbell said many of these workers have been lured by the promise of better work conditions.
But while there have been improvements in the lives of many workers, there has been a lack of awareness about the dangers of working in the rainforest, Campbell told NPR.
“People are getting really, really sick and dying,” he said.
“And when we have people who are sick and die in the wild, we don’t get the attention.”
The impact of the virus On Feb. 9, Campbell’s organization released a report detailing how malaria cases in the U-28 region, including Lima, have skyrocketed in the past few years.
The researchers, led by a Colombian epidemiologist, found that in the first three months of 2018, malaria cases rose by an astounding 80 percent in the entire region, even as the country experienced its first annual reduction in the total number of deaths.
The rise is so dramatic that Campbell said it’s “appalling” that it happened within just three months, and said the virus is spreading so rapidly.
“The first thing you should do is get to a safe place, get to an official place, because there’s nothing else that you can do,” he told NPR’s Rachel Martin.
Campbell estimates that malaria cases have jumped by over 80 percent across the entire country since 2014, and he believes that has something to do with the fact that Brazil is moving in a new direction.
Brazil has been investing heavily in new infrastructure projects to combat the virus.
The country has set up a National Microbiological Center, which has worked to contain the virus and has also introduced a $15 billion plan to combat it, and Campbell believes this is part of the solution.
“There’s a real effort to make sure that we are not creating a more dangerous environment, so that we don`t have the burden of having to go into the jungle, which is where we know that malaria is a real danger,” Campbell said.
The World Food Program estimates that nearly 90 percent of the people who contracted malaria in the year that the region experienced its worst malaria wave in recent years were already living in poverty.
But the numbers of people in the United States, which experienced the worst of the pandemics, have dropped significantly in recent months.
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued new guidelines that call for mandatory testing for people traveling through the Amazon, which could be a huge boon for the region.
And Campbell has some hope that the new CDC guidelines could help ease the strain on the health system, as they allow for people to be tested for malaria in areas where there are not the facilities for testing.
“So, we`re going to see more and better treatments that can be used in the near future, and that will allow