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Mosquito Trails

Mosquito Trails: Ecology, Health, and the Politics of Entanglement

Alex M. Nading
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Mosquito Trails
    Book Description:

    Dengue fever is the world's most prevalent mosquito-borne illness, but Alex Nading argues that people in dengue-endemic communities do not always view humans and mosquitoes as mortal enemies. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in urban Nicaragua and challenging current global health approaches to animal-borne illness,Mosquito Trailstells the story of a group of community health workers who struggle to come to terms with dengue epidemics amid poverty, political change, and economic upheaval. Blending theory from medical anthropology, political ecology, and science and technology studies, Nading develops the concept of "the politics of entanglement" to describe how Nicaraguans strive to remain alive to the world around them despite global health strategies that seek to insulate them from their environments. This innovative ethnography illustrates the continued significance of local environmental histories, politics, and household dynamics to the making and unmaking of a global pandemic.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95856-2
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. [Map]
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Introduction: DENGUE IN THE LANDSCAPE
    (pp. 1-26)

    Fatima’s symptoms—soreness and coughing—appeared on a Monday. Her parents initially thought she had a throat infection, but by Wednesday, her fever and joint and muscle aches had gotten worse, and she had developed a faint skin rash. On Saturday, she was bleeding through her nose. Fatima was admitted to a private hospital, where she remained for three days and nights. On Tuesday, she was back at home, in her family’s small house in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua. Her fever was finally abating, but her body aches, rash, and nosebleeds indicated that she had contracted dengue fever. The Nicaraguan Ministry...


    • ONE City of Emergencies
      (pp. 29-60)

      The toyota truck came to a stop at the end of a rutted, narrow dirt lane, where the section of Ciudad Sandino called Mostatepe, or zona 13, met a long, paved stretch of highway. The truck’s driver, don Gilberto, checked his rearview mirrors and whistled out the window, partly in the direction of the group of women awaiting a bicycle taxi to carry them to the nearby bus stop, and partly in that of the tworecolectores(collectors) who were trailing the truck on foot, picking up refuse stuffed into old fifty-pound rice sacks from the houses we passed. The...

    • TWO Patrons, Clients, and Parasites
      (pp. 61-86)

      I am trudging slowly behind a garbage truck as it winds through zona 10. The streets here are mostly short alleys(callejones)that all spur off of a main central artery. Thesecallejonesare not just short but perilously narrow. This means that after we’ve tossed just five or six houses’ worth of garbage sacks up to the bed of the truck, don Gilberto has to effect a multipoint turn to get us headed back to the main road. At first, the process of collection seems familiar and tedious.Recolectores(they are all men) pick up bags of refuse in...


    • THREE Householding and Evangelical Ecology
      (pp. 89-114)

      One day in 2008, I went with Morena Sanchez, my closest brigadista confidante, to visit a friend of hers who lived in Nueva Vida. Morena knew Karen from their days as coworkers on a zona franca shop floor. Karen’s job was to cut pieces of denim fabric into short strips, which Morena then sewed onto blue jeans to make belt loops. The work was repetitive, hot, and often humiliating. The predominantly female zona franca workforce was closely monitored by a group of Taiwanese managers, who zealously enforced production quotas. Karen and Morena worked side by side in the factory, but...

    • FOUR Mosquitos, Madres, y Moradores
      (pp. 115-140)

      Doña jamaica was a vector-borne disease technician, one of half a dozen employed full-time by MINSA’s Ciudad Sandino health center. MINSA colleagues referred to technicians like doña Jamaica ascelestes,in reference to the sky-blue polyester uniforms they wore, set off by navy blue caps and shiny black military boots. One of the main jobs of the celestes was to train brigadistas to search out the breeding spaces ofAe. aegypti. Doña Jamaica was, in other words, a professional mosquito tracker. On a warm morning in 2008, she led a group of brigadistas through a neighborhood near the health center....


    • FIVE Stories of Surveillance and Participation
      (pp. 143-169)

      Doña guillermina spoke with a thick “Nica” accent, a kind of cockney Spanish in which hardt’s ands’s were often dropped. Born in León, she had lived at various points in her life on Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast and in Americas Dos, los Pescadores, Manchester, Ruben Darío, and Acagualinca, Managua barrios that were inundated during Hurricane Mitch, when hundreds of families, including doña Guillermina’s, lost their homes. After fifteen days in a hastily arranged emergency refuge located in a local school, doña Guillermina was told that she could be resettled in Nueva Vida. She had two children at the time,...

    • SIX Dengue Season in the City of Emergencies
      (pp. 170-199)

      Yamileth’s son esteban became ill in 2005. Yamileth, whom I introduced in chapter 3, was a brigadista, and her house was acasa base,a place where neighbors could come for basic medical advice. As acasa basevolunteer, Yamileth knew when Esteban got sick that he needed more skilled attention than she could give. It was the height of the rainy season—the peak period for dengue infection, as well as respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses.

      “I took him to the health center,” Yamileth told me in an interview three years later, “but they found nothing in his [blood tests]....

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 200-208)

    Alongside most every road in Ciudad Sandino there is a footpath. Occasionally this path takes the form of a concrete sidewalk, but more often it is a well-worn trail, a hard-packed, sometimes even shiny, line of dirt. Such trails contain a wealth of stories, and in this book I have tried to tell a few of them. The work of telling such stories is never complete. I see this book and most any other work of anthropology as something akin to a trail guide: the kind of document a backpacker might buy or borrow before setting off on a trek....

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 209-240)
    (pp. 241-260)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 261-269)