Uma história da doença de Carrión: clínica e bacteriologia (1842-1913)

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Universidade Federal de Goiás


This doctoral thesis is a historical and epistemological research of the clinical age of Carrion's disease (1842-1885) and of the early age of his bacteriologic study (1885-1913). That´s a disease born within a historical narrative about the medical effects of experimental inoculation that the medical student Daniel Alcides Carrión, was made to do in August 1885. According to the peruvian historical narrative about the origins and consequences of the medical experiment, the student was inoculated with the blood of a disease known as Peruvian wart, but developed and died, in October five, from the disease called Oroya fever. The experiment would then have shown that there are not two diseases, but only one, that which, since then, bears his name as a tribute to the heroic gesture of inoculation. According to current knowledge about the disease, it has two stages in its evolution or syndromes. A febrile phase, anemiante, acute and of high risk for the patient's life; another phase, which follows the first, is the development of a characteristic skin neoformation, with the form of papules blood, called Peruvian wart. The historiography of the disease, after 1940, suggests that this duality of pathological manifestation represented the clinical difficulty explaining the genesis and outcome of the experiment of Carrion. However, research of documents relevant to the experiment of 1885, made in the first chapter of our thesis, showed that the experiment was not aimed at overcoming the dichotomy of two diseases. The student already had an advanced understanding of the overall clinical progression of the disease, including its two stages. From our investigation, moreover, we conclude that the peruvian medicine considered demonstrated that the inoculation produced Oroya fever, but the peruvian medicine does not present anywhere the ways in which one can recognize the Oroya fever. Due to these problems was undertaken in the second chapter, the study of the period of foundation of Peruvian wart clinic (1842-1872) and came to the conclusion that at this time there already was a complete understanding of the evolution of disease, including its stages and forms of development. At this point in our investigation, the existence of the notion of Oroya fever has appeared as unnecessary for the clinical knowledge of the disease. Therefore, the third chapter of our thesis investigated the period from 1872 to 1885, a time when the notion of Oroya fever appears in medical literature. Our investigation has shown that the notion appeared in Peruvian medicine because it regarded the disease as being a strictly benign, afebrile rash. Consequently, the Peruvian nosological dualism appears as a result of its inability to explain the phenomena of the general economy’s commitment that anticipate the eruption of Peruvian wart. With this new understanding of the clinical description of disease, we retake, in the fourth chapter, what happened in the study of disease, after the experiment of Carrión. A review of medical literature of the period between 1885 and 1898 showed that the historical narrative of Lima on the 7 experiment of Carrion became a guiding discipline of all research on the disease of this new period. During one stage of that Peruvian research (1885-1898), required to remain still only clinic, the study of disease was a prisoner of its assumptions - it became necessary, to keep the interpretation of the experiment as true, to define the concept of Oroya fever. But the final solution was not reached because the effort of maintaining doctrinal assumptions was placed above the results of observation. This closed circle began to be broken with the discovery of Tamayo, in 1905, that part of what physicians called Oroya fever was the result of a very common complication of severe cases of Peruvian wart with paratyphoid bacilli. The fourth chapter is concerned, yet, to the period after the discovery of Tamayo, from 1905 to 1913, to know the fate of Oroya fever. This research shows that the Peruvian medicine did not give up of the traditional historical narrative about the Carrion’s experiment. After Tamayo’s explanation of the reasons of part of what is called Oroya fever, the Peruvian medicine refused to give up of the use of this notion. Arce, the main Peruvian defender of the traditional historical narration about the disease, in 1913, meaning to seek the recovery of significance of Oroya fever that kept alive the dual polarity needed to remain true to the idea that, in 1885, has been demonstrated the unity between the two diseases. This doctoral thesis has obtained, thus, the construction of a new history of knowledge of Carrion’s disease, for the period 1842 to 1913.



SUGIZAKI, E. Uma história da doença de Carrión: clínica e bacteriologia (1842-1913). 2011. 248 f. Tese (Doutorado em História) - Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, 2011.