Book ID: CBB093085222

Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic (2017)


McKay, Richard A. (Author)

University of Chicago Press

Publication Date: 2017
Physical Details: 432 pp.
Language: English

The search for a "Patient Zero"--Popularly understood to be an epidemic's first infected case--has been key to media coverage of major infectious disease outbreaks for more than three decades. Yet the term itself did not exist before the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. How did this idea so swiftly exert a strong grip on the popular consciousness? In Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic, Richard A. McKay demonstrates how this seemingly new concept drew upon centuries-old ideas--and fears--about contagion and social disorder. McKay presents a carefully documented account of the life of Ga�tan Dugas, a gay man whose skin cancer diagnosis in 1980 took on very different meanings as the epidemic developed and who gained widespread posthumous infamy when he was incorrectly identified as Patient Zero of the North American outbreak. McKay shows how public health investigators inadvertently created the term amid their early research into the emerging health crisis; how an ambitious journalist dramatically amplified the idea in his determination to reframe national debates about AIDS; and how many individuals grappled with the notion of Patient Zero--adopting, challenging and redirecting its powerful meanings--as they tried to make sense of and respond to the first fifteen years of an unfolding epidemic in Canada and the United States. With important insights for our interconnected age, Patient Zero untangles the complex process by which individuals and groups create meaning and allocate blame when faced with new disease threats.--Page 4 of cover.

Reviewed By

Review Stephen Inrig (2019) Review of "Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic". American Historical Review (pp. 1111-1112). unapi

Review Gerald M. Oppenheimer (2019) Review of "Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic". Bulletin of the History of Medicine (pp. 294-295). unapi

Review Jim Downs (2019) Review of "Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic". Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (pp. 482-484). unapi

Review Neeraja Sankaran (2018) Review of "Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic". British Journal for the History of Science (pp. 536-538). unapi

Review Victoria A Harden (2019) Review of "Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic". Social History of Medicine (pp. 436-437). unapi

Review Steven Noll (2019) Review of "Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic". Journal of American History (pp. 1100-1100). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Cueto, Marcos
King, Nicholas B.
Dodier, Nicolas
Holmberg, Scott D.
Werner, Georges H.
García Ferrandis, Xavier
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Revue d'Histoire de la Pharmacie
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Medical History
Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
Praeger Publishers
University of North Carolina Press
Columbia University Press
Columbia University
Cambridge University Press
AIDS (disease); HIV / AIDS
Human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV)
Public health
Infectious diseases
Prevention and control of disease
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
20th century, early
United States
South Africa
South America

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