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Salud Colectiva

On-line version ISSN 1851-8265Print version ISSN 1669-2381


PALMER, Steven. Hookworm disease and the Nation: Costa Rica's precocious public health campaigns. Salud Colectiva [online]. 2009, vol.5, n.3, pp.403-412. ISSN 1851-8265.

The article discusses medical research and public health programs on hookworm disease in Costa Rica in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Between 1908 and 1914 Costa Rican hookworm specialists proposed that hookworm disease ("cansancio" in popular parlance) was a generalized problem throughout the rural sectors, and not particular to any region or racial group. This allowed them to give their authochthonous hookworm campaign a national scope and to introduce the rural popular sectors to notions of bacteriology and hygiene. The Costa Rican experience with hookworm disease pre-dated the Rockefeller Foundation's better known global hookworm eradication program, and led to the reorientation of the Rockefeller mission when it set up in Costa Rica in 1914 to a broader public health agenda built around programs of school hygiene.

Keywords : Ancylostomiasis; Hookworm Infections; Health Programs and Plans; History, 19th Century; History, 20th Century; Costa Rica.

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