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Revista Española de Salud Pública

versão On-line ISSN 2173-9110versão impressa ISSN 1135-5727


MATEOS JIMENEZ, Juan B.. Proceedings of the International Sanitary Conferences (1851-1938). Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2005, vol.79, n.3, pp.339-349. ISSN 2173-9110.

This brief article is aimed at recalling the "International Sanitary Conferences" which were held regularly throughout the 1851-1938 period, consisting of a number of meetings in which the leading healthcare professionals, hygienists and scientists at each point in time took part, as well as the corresponding ambassadors from the leading countries, in an attempt to reach consensuses agreed to among all nations which would prevent the arrival and spread of pestilent diseases. This work was highly involved back then given that the participants were divided into two large, powerful groups: the contagionists, in favor of sanitary cordons, quarantines and lazarettos; and the followers of miasmatic theory or anticontagionists, who rejected these measures and defended full-fledged individual, environmental and general sanitation. The bacteriological discoveries which were being made at the time opened up to way to a better understanding among those taking part in these Conferences. A minimal summary of the subject matter of each one of these Conferences is provided in this article. Special mention must be made of the fact that these Conferences were the starting point of the World Health Organization. Mention is made of some of the difficulties encountered with regard to obtaining the photocopies of the texts of the 14 Sets of Proceedings of theses Conferences. Until now, only two complete sets existed, one comprised of originals and photocopies at the WHO headquarters in Geneva and the other at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland (USA). Now there are also copies in Spain, at the Carlos III Health Institute.

Palavras-chave : Communicable diseases; Technical Report.

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