Thesis ID: CBB001561125

Keeping Fear at Bay: Twentieth-Century Ecuador and the Eradication of Plague (2010)


Cornejo, Edward Victoriano (Author)

New York, City University of
Quiroz, Alfonso W.
Ackerman, Evelyn B.

Publication Date: 2010
Edition Details: Advisor: Quiroz, Alfonso W.; Ackerman, Evelyn B.
Physical Details: 298 pp.
Language: English

Until plague's reappearance in China in the latter nineteenth century, plague had often been thought of as belonging to a distant continent and even more distant time in history. Turn-of-the-century maritime and technological advances, however, exponentially increased the fear, the panic, and the power that plague had over people throughout the globe. Ecuador fell victim to this scourge in 1903 and had to find ways to confront a disease with which it had minimal experience. Ecuador's anti-plague efforts, led by men such as Dr. Carlos A. Miño, were important steps in the confrontation of the disease. The campaign to fight plague took the form of four phases that ultimately helped Ecuadorian public health experts bring plague cases under control and eradicate the disease. This was not done, however, without assistance. On the one hand, the general Ecuadorian population seemed willing enough to follow the recommendations set by Miño and his staff: disinfection, fumigation, whitewashing, and other new scientifically hygienic measures. On the other hand, foreign experts from the United States were also instrumental in the eradication of the disease. By 1930, Ecuador had succeeded in eradicating the disease as a result of several intersecting factors. First among these was the constant vigilance of a public health apparatus that focused on information gathering and familiarity with the zones most affected. Second was the implementation of public health measures that focused on cleanliness, disinfection, and elimination of the rodent vector. Finally, it was the epidemiological and entomological expertise of Americans Dr. John D. Long and Dr. Clifford R. Eskey who dedicated themselves to the epidemiological studies of plague in Ecuador that helped seal the fate of the disease. Thus, the ambitious public health policies of Dr. Miño and his colleagues, combined with an infusion of new technology and expertise and the disinfecting of homes and public spaces, led to the nearly complete eradication of plague from the country in the 1930s. In the end, Ecuador's campaign against plague was married to Ecuador's modernizing drive of the late nineteenth century. In other words, modernization led to the eradication of plague in Ecuador and the disease's eradication was, in turn, a way by which to modernize the peripheral sectors. The evidence questions the notion that modernization and modernity had always negative impacts on autochthonous communities. The case of Ecuador's highland areas illustrates that despite some unintended consequences there exist exceptions critical of modernization and that peripheral communities or peoples did indeed benefit from and, more importantly, took advantage of the scientific hygiene that was a product of turn-of-the-century epidemiological and microbiological knowledge. References References (212)


Description Cited in Diss. Abstr. Int. A 71/04 (2010). Pub. no. AAT 3397397.

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Authors & Contributors
Mercuriale, Girolamo
Maria Paola Zanoboni
Emanuele Stolfi
Ripamonti, Giuseppe
Pietro Sisto
Repossi, Cesare
Nuova Rivista di Storia della Medicina
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Tarikh-e Elm (The Iranian Journal for the History of Science)
William and Mary Quarterly
Public Understanding of Science
Korean Journal of Medical History
Cierre edizioni
Luni Editrice
Editoriale Jouvence
University of California, Irvine
Yale University Press
Public health
Disease and diseases
Medicine and politics
Mercuriale, Girolamo
Ripamonti, Giuseppe
Leonardo da Vinci
Andrade, Nuno Ferreira de
Time Periods
17th century
19th century
Early modern
20th century, early
Milan (Italy)
Venice (Italy)

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