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Father of mass vaccination, Cruz would complete 140 years on Sunday

The first sanistarista was responsible for the successful campaign against yellow fever and smallpox control effort

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Foto: Acervo Casa Oswaldo Cruz
Imagem: Acervo da Casa Oswaldo Cruz
Oswaldo Cruz in 1903 Charge of Oswaldo Cruz and health campaign conducted by him with the title
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Oswaldo Cruz in 1903
Charge of Oswaldo Cruz and health campaign conducted by him with the title "Effeito Smallpox"

This Sunday (5) commemorates the 140th anniversary of birth of the public health physician, bacteriologist Oswaldo Cruz, responsible for the sanitation of Rio de Janeiro, the creation of the Federal Serotherapy Institute, Reform of the Health Code of the country, among other important milestones for Health in Brazil .

Responsible for the first successful campaign against yellow fever and smallpox control effort by the vaccine, for the historian and editor of the magazine Scientific History, Science and Health Manguinhos, a quarterly journal of the Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Jaime L. Benchimol, the sanitarian stood out as the main leadership of a vanguard group of doctors at the turn of the nineteenth century, was able to transform microbiology and tropical medicine on an important tool in public health in Brazil.

The doctor's son Bento Goncalves Cruz and Amalia Taborda de Bouillon Cruz, Cruz was born on August 5, 1872, in San Luis de Paraitinga, Sao Paulo. He lived in the city until 1877, when his family moved to Rio de Janeiro. Laura studied at the College, the College of St. Peter of Alcantara and Externato Dom Pedro II.

At age 15, joined the Faculty of Medicine of Rio de Janeiro. Before completing the course, had already published two articles on Brazil in the journal Medical Microbiology. On December 24, 1892, he graduated doctor of medicine, with the thesis Microbial Serving for Water. His interest in microbiology led him to set up a small laboratory in his basement. However, the death of his father, in the same year he graduated, prevented the deepening of his studies for a while. Only in 1896 could realize his dream: to specialize in bacteriology at the Pasteur Institute of Paris, which at the time, met great names of science.

Back from Europe, Oswaldo Cruz found the Port of Santos ravaged by violent epidemic of bubonic plague, and then engaged in fighting the disease. To manufacture the anti-plague serum, was created in May 25, 1900, the Federal Serotherapy Institute, housed in the former Farm Manguinhos, with the Baron CEO and technical director Pedro Afonso young bacteriologist. In 1902, Cruz became the general direction of the new Institute. This, in turn, has expanded its activities, no longer restricted to the manufacture of anti-plague serum, but also dedicating to the applied basic research and training of human resources.

The following year, Cruz was appointed Director General of Public Health, a position which is currently the Minister of Health using the Federal Institute Soroterápico as the basis of scientific and technical support, sparked memorable sanitation campaigns. Within months, the incidence of plague decreased with the extermination of rats, whose fleas transmitted the disease.

War on mosquitoes

When fighting yellow fever, at the same time, Oswaldo Cruz faced several problems. Most doctors and the population believed that the disease was transmitted by contact with clothes, sweat, blood and secretions of patients. However, Cruz believed in a new theory: the transmitter of yellow fever was a mosquito. Thus, suspended disinfections, the traditional method in combating disease, and implanted with sanitary brigades who visited houses, gardens, yards and streets, to eliminate insect outbreaks. His performance led to violent popular reaction.

In 1904, opposition to Oswaldo Cruz peaked. With the upsurge in outbreaks of smallpox, the health officer tried to promote the mass vaccination of the population. The newspaper launched a campaign against the measure. The congress was organized protested and the League against mandatory vaccination. On November 13, popular rebellion broke out, and on day 14, the Military School of Praia Vermelha rose. The government defeated the rebellion, but suspended the mandatory vaccine.

Oswaldo Cruz ended up winning the battle. In 1907, yellow fever was eradicated in Rio de Janeiro. In 1908, a smallpox epidemic brought the population to health centers. Brazil has finally recognized the value of sanitation.

In the international scientific world, but his prestige was already uncontested. In 1907, the XIV International Congress of Hygiene and Demography in Berlin, received the gold medal for the work of sanitation of Rio de Janeiro. Cruz has reformed and restructured the Health Code all health agencies and health of the country.

In 1909, he left the General Directorate of Public Health, going to dedicate himself solely to the Manguinhos Institute, which was renamed in his name. The Institute has launched major scientific expeditions that made possible the occupation of the country. Eradicated yellow fever in Pará and performed the sanitation campaign in the Amazon. It also allowed the completion of the works of the Estrada de Ferro Madeira-Mamore, whose construction had been interrupted by the large number of deaths among workers caused by malaria.

In 1913 he was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters. In 1915, for health reasons, abandoned the direction of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute and moved to Petrópolis. Elected mayor of that city, drew large estate plan, you can not see built. Suffering from renal crisis, died on February 11, 1917, with only 44 years.

With information from Fiocruz, Agency Brazil

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