U.S. Biosecurity and the Emergence of Global Epidemiologic Surveillance: Analyzing the Genealogy of a Problem.

  • Alexis Bedolla CISAN

Abstract

Far from being a "natural" evolution within epidemiology and public health, the development of global epidemiological surveillance systems adapted to identify unexpected biological threats respond, in fact, to technoscientific discourses that incorporate specific perspectives and political interests. The objective of this article seeks to demonstrate how US national security prerogatives had a crucial influence on the design of new technical practices of disease surveillance that were incorporated into the policies and regulations of the WHO in the mid-1990s. Through original documentary and archival research, the article demonstrates the influence of security concerns regarding the proliferation of biological weapons and potential bioterrorist attacks in the concept of "emerging infectious diseases" and, moreover, in the development of novel epidemiological surveillance systems. The article's conclusion suggests that, indeed, the American biosecurity discourse has had a decisive role in the development of contemporary epidemiological knowledge and practices. Arguing, additionally, that this discussion is useful in showing the limits of said innovations and reveals what and whom they aim to protect.

Published
2022-07-27
How to Cite
Bedolla, A. (2022). U.S. Biosecurity and the Emergence of Global Epidemiologic Surveillance: Analyzing the Genealogy of a Problem. Norteamérica, Revista Académica Del CISAN-UNAM, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.22201/cisan.24487228e.2023.1.566
Section
ESSAYS