Plague and yellow fever: unlikely outlaws behind the crisis and reshaping of Rio de Janeiro in the early 1900’s
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
vii, 95 pages
ProgramTowson University. Social Sciences Program
In Third Plague Pandemic history, there is a clear pattern of global response. News that plague had arrived was greeted routinely with denial, delay, and appeal to outside experts. But it was not the case in Brazil. Indeed, Brazilians acted so promptly against plague, that one asks why. This thesis takes the position that decisiveness by Brazilian authorities was due to an exhausting experience with yellow fever, a disease endemic to Brazil during the previous fifty years. Experiments to discover the yellow fever microbe had transformed a generation of young microbiologists. When added to political pressure to clean up the capital city and fear of damage to the port’s reputation, this new level of medical expertise in Rio de Janeiro created an opening. To Brazilians, plague's timely entrance provided a convenient impetus for change. From these conditions, Rio's success in battling disease, and its simultaneous urban renewal is best explained.