Santa Cruz Cabrália, Brazil
Santa Cruz Cabrália, Brazil

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In October 1899, the bubonic plague arrived in Brazil through the port of Santos. A city of intensive port activity, Santos was the gateway for a plague epidemic that devastated several cities in Brazil in the early 20th century and prompted Joint action by several states to fight it. More importantly, given the difficulties and delays in importing anti-plague serum from Europe, it led to the creation of the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo (In 1899) and the Municipal Serotherapeutic Institute In Rio de Janeiro (in 1900), which developed and standardized anti-plague serum and vaccines according to the particular conditions of the country. Until then, public health efforts had been isolated and had not reached the whole country. Oswaldo Cruz, newly arrived after three years of specialization at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, worked with scientists Adolfo Lutz and Vital Brazil on identifying the plague In Santos. This article analyzes the arrival of the bubonic plague epidemic in the state of Sao Paulo and the public health measures taken to combat the disease and provide patient care in the early part of the 20th century. The primary sources for this analysis were the São Paulo newspapers, especially O Estado de Sao Paulo, and reports from the Ministry of Justice and the President of the State of Sao Paulo.

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