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Synopsis

Enemy in the Blood: Malaria, Environment, and Development in Argentina examines the dramatic yet mostly forgotten history of malaria control in northwest Argentina. Carter traces the evolution of malaria science and policy in Argentina from the disease’s emergence as a social problem in the 1890s to its effective eradication by 1950. Malaria-control proponents saw the campaign as part of a larger project of constructing a modern identity for Argentina. Insofar as development meant building a more productive, rational, and hygienic society, the perceptions of a culturally backwards and disease-ridden interior prevented Argentina from joining the ranks of “modern” nations. The path to eradication, however, was not easy due to complicated public health politics, inappropriate application of foreign malaria control strategies, and a habitual misreading of the distinctive ecology of malaria in the northwest, especially the unique characteristics of the local mosquito vector. Homegrown scientific expertise, a populist public health agenda, and an infusion of new technologies eventually brought a rapid end to malaria’s scourge, if not the cure for regional underdevelopment.

Enemy in the Blood sheds light on the often neglected history of northwest Argentina’s interior, adds to critical perspectives on the history of development and public health in modern Latin America, and demonstrates the merits of integrative socialenvironmental research.

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