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Additional resources for Biopolitical Surveillance and Public Health in International Politics
34 Enter Alexander Langmuir. A professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, Langmuir joined the CDC in 1949 as its chief epidemiologist. His chief task in those early days was to develop the nascent organization’s epidemiological capabilities so as to be useful on a practical basis. To this end, he created the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). Members of the EIS commonly called “the disease detectives,” received two-year postgraduate fellowships to public health personnel in applied epidemiology to link disease outbreaks with their causes and recommend treatment and prevention options.
30 This gave the state a direct role, in some cases, in determining who should marry. 31 The state sought to rationalize reproduction to strengthen the society and to produce more individuals who would epitomize society’s values. 32 This system entrenched a social and biological hierarchy within society, putting the weight of the state behind it. M ODERN H E A LTH S URV EILL A NCE We can track much of the modern understanding of public health surveillance back to one man: Alexander D. Langmuir.
51 Thus, the IHR distinguish states as responsible members of the international community. They come with both psychic and tangible benefits. Proper health surveillance leads to respect and status within the international community. When it comes to disease epidemics, such panopticism and biopolitical surveillance proves useful and beneficial. Epidemics are often random events, especially when new pathogens find a niche within the human population and take hold. Though it would be irrational to assume that no new pathogen would ever emerge, no one could have foretold, for instance, that SARS would emerge.