Bras. Political Sci. Rev.. 23/Nov/2016;10(3):e0009.

Contested Epidemics: Policy Response in Brazil and the U.S. and what the BRICS Can Learn

Jeni Vaitsman

DOI: 10.1590/1981-38212016000300009

No country responds to epidemics in the same way. What makes some countries to be more successful than others in coping with epidemics? It is this question which Eduardo Gómez (2015) tries to answer in his research. He compares the responses that have been given by the United States and Brazil, since the early twentieth century, to the emergence of what he calls
contested epidemics
, such as syphilis, polio, AIDS, tuberculosis, malnutrition and, currently, obesity.

Contested epidemics usually imply political views, proposals and conflicting interests between leaders, bureaucrats and civil society, and governments usually do not quickly react before their emergence. When they are associated with behaviors such as AIDS, syphilis and alcoholism or have an incidence over poor and marginalized groups, moral beliefs often guide the perceptions of decision makers and other stakeholders on their potentiality to become a threat to society.

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Contested Epidemics: Policy Response in Brazil and the U.S. and what the BRICS Can Learn

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