Social Science & Medicine
Ann H.Kelly, Javier Lezaun, Ilana Löwy, Gustavo Corrêa Matta, Carolina de Oliveira Nogueira, Elaine Teixeira RabelloView Journal Article / Working Paper
Uncertainty was a defining feature of the Brazilian Zika crisis of 2015–2016. When in February 2016 the WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), it noted that it did so on the basis of what was not known about the virus and its pathogenic potential. To better understand the role that non-knowledge played in the unfolding of the Brazilian Zika crisis we differentiate between three different kinds of uncertainty: global health uncertainty, public health uncertainty, and clinical uncertainty. While these three forms of uncertainty were difficult to disentangle in the early weeks of the crisis, very soon each one began to trace a distinct trajectory.