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This chapter begins with the everyday work of epidemiologists, mostly physicians but including some nurses, who keep statistics and investigate diseases in Delta Amacuro State. It explores the process of producing epidemiological normalcy, the baseline of morbidity and mortality against which deviations are measured, and the political sensibility generated by public attention to epidemics. The Regional Health Service's chief epidemiologist traces how he investigated the first strange cases and structured his work around an urban toxicologist's hypothesis that mercury poisoning was the cause. The municipal epidemiologist, who participated in several on-site investigations, tells of a deeper affective engagement, her hands-on efforts to obtain more accurate infant mortality statistics and to pinpoint the cause of the epidemic. Two nurses claim to have first discovered the epidemic and compiled the detailed data on which later efforts relied, charging superiors with erasing their role and cold indifference to the children's deaths.

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