Saúde e Sociedade
versión impresa ISSN 0104-1290
VILLELA, Edlaine Faria De Moura y NATAL, Delsio. Encephalitis on the south coast of the State of São Paulo: the emergence of the epidemic and the response of the written media. Saude soc. [online]. 2009, vol.18, n.4, pp. 756-761. ISSN 0104-1290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-12902009000400018.
On the south coast of the State of São Paulo, there was an encephalitis epidemic due to the arbovirus Rocio from 1975 to 1978. High rates of morbidity and mortality caused a social impact. There was a decrease in tourism and a commercial crisis, which caused turmoil among traders and reactions against the media concerning the communication of the epidemic. This work aimed to present a documental study of the epidemic with the purpose of analyzing how the written press communicated the social facts related to the epidemic in the first half of 1975. Articles about the epidemic were obtained in the database of the newspapers A Tribuna, Folha de S.Paulo and Jornal da Tarde. The pieces of news published up to the month of July of 1975 were analyzed. With the identification of encephalitis cases of unknown causes, the State Department of Health advised tourists, through the media, not to go to the coast. In face of the news, a flight of tourists occurred, and the discomfort of traders was observed. Some mayors alleged that the published news were not true. The prohibition made by the sanitary authorities was reported by the media in an interdisciplinary way, encompassing the researchers and society. Thus, the media revealed to the public tensions between the scientific knowledge holders and the local economic power. The newspapers covered many topics, but they spread uncertainty and used sensationalist images, besides disarticulating biological and social events. The subjects reached the readers in a fragmented way and with damaged social meanings.
Palabras llave : Encephalitis; Rocio; Epidemic; Arbovirus; Media.