The smallpox epidemic and fear of the vaccine in Goiás

Eliézer Cardoso de Oliveira

An analysis is made of two aspects of smallpox in the Brazilian state of Goiás. One is a historical reconstruction of the main outbreaks in the state in the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth century, focusing on the increased number of epidemics of the disease as transportation was modernized and the population grew. The other concerns the people's resistance in the nineteenth century to the smallpox vaccine, which may be understood in a broader context of resistance to the modernizations introduced by the State in Goiás. According to the methodology used, smallpox is regarded as a hermeneutic event within the broader efforts to standardize public health made by the public authorities, which ran counter to the local people's values and attitudes.

Goiás; epidemic; smallpox; vaccine; civilization process


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