The Zika virus in Brazil, and who is affected

Though it doesn’t show up in most journalistic discussions, OF COURSE race and class matter.


Lost in the panic about Zika is an important fact: The epidemic mirrors the social inequality of Brazilian society. It is concentrated among young, poor, black and brown women, a vast majority of them living in the country’s least-developed regions. The women at greatest risk of contracting Zika live in places where the mosquito is part of their everyday lives, where mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya were already endemic. They live in substandard, crowded housing in neighborhoods where stagnant water, the breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes, is everywhere. These women can’t avoid bites: They need to be outdoors from dawn until dusk to work, shop and take care of their children. And they are the same women who have the least access to sexual and reproductive health care.

More here.


Thanks, A!

One thought on “The Zika virus in Brazil, and who is affected

  1. From a public health perspective, I think this is a general trend in reporting of ‘epidemics’ (real or feared). Generally the reported high rates of incidence and of serious outcomes relate to poor people living in over-crowded and otherwise unhygienic conditions, however it is generally reported as if it is a threat to all of us.

    For the diseases where there is an actual or potential treatment, there are commercial interests that make this kind of reporting more likely. Inequality in itself is one of the major health problems of the world, but rarely is reported as such.

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