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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


KROPF, Simone Petraglia; AZEVEDO, Nara  and  FERREIRA, Luiz Otávio. Chagas disease: the construction of a scientific fact and of a public health problem in Brazil. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2000, vol.5, n.2, pp.347-365. ISSN 1678-4561.

This article aims at studying two moments in the course of social and scientific consolidation and legitimation of American trypanosomiasis, discovered in the interior of the state of Minas Gerais in 1909 by Carlos Chagas, Oswaldo Cruz Institute researcher. Analysis, therefore, will focus first on Lassance's research, a phase that occurred still during Chagas' lifetime and that presided over the basic definitions of this tropical disease. Focus then will shift onto the action of the group of researchers brought together at the Centro de Estudos e Profilaxia da Moléstia de Chagas in the Minas Gerais town of Bambuí, during the '40s and '50s. In our view the discovery of American trypanosomiasis, insofar as this disease became an accepted and established object, occurred over a long process that transcended not just the episode of its discovery, but also that of Lassance's research, as expanded on by Chagas and his associates. Our hypothesis is that work carried out at Bambuí was responsible for ensuring a fundamental agreement on this disease's pathological specificity and its social relevance, which in turn led to the general acknowledgment of the illness both as an established scientific fact and as a public health problem.

Keywords : Chagas Disease; Disease History; Scientific Research; Public Health; Brazil.

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