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Historia Crítica

versão impressa ISSN 0121-1617


SUTTER, Paul. "Mosquito control in Panama : Entomologists and Environmental Change during the Construction of the Panama Canal . hist.crit. [online]. 2005, n.30, pp.67-90. ISSN 0121-1617.

This essay examines U.S. efforts to control the mosquito vectors of malaria and yellow fever during the construction of the Panama Canal . Before the discovery that mosquitoes transmitted malaria and yellow fever, most observers assumed these diseases were an entrenched part of tropical nature. But when the United States entered Panama in 1904 to begin their turn at canal building, they came not only with their own ideas about the tropics, but also as beneficiaries of the vector discoveries and thus with new tools for fighting tropical fevers. The result was a sanitary effort, led by William Gorgas and supported by a growing community of sanitarians and entomologists, which rid the canal zone of yellow fever and reduced the incidence of malaria. American officials and observers claimed that their sanitary efforts provided an object lesson in how to conquer the tropics. But a closer look at mosquito controlin Panama reveals a different story. Sanitarians and entomologists noted that mosquito control usually involved attacking breeding grounds created by the environmental and social changes that came with U.S. canal building. By pointing out these relationships between disease and environmental change, entomologists occupied an intriguing space, at once supportive of U.S. imperial goals in Panama and subversive of the official discourse on tropicality.

Palavras-chave : Anopheles mosquitoes; Entomology; William Gorgas; Malaria; Panama Canal; Sanitation; Tropics; Yellow Fever.

        · resumo em Espanhol     · texto em Espanhol     · Espanhol ( pdf )


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