Published In

Journal of International and Global Studies

Document Type


Publication Date



Zika virus, Social media, Health education -- methods


After a Zika outbreak began in Brazil in April 2015, narratives blamed the virus on a variety of international actors, including chemical companies and the Gates Foundation. Many of these narratives drew upon older conspiracy theories that had circulated in Latin America during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Whether these narratives denounced transgenic mosquitoes or pesticides, they reflected not only the fear created by a mysterious wave of birth defects but also a profound mistrust of health authorities and transnational corporations. This paper will examine the narratives that circulated on YouTube, blogs, podcasts, and other alternative media sources, which typically blamed outside forces (and their dangerous use of science) for the emergence of the virus. These popular narratives provide insight into how Latin Americans in general—and Brazilians in particular—have interpreted this epidemic in the context of globalization.


This is the publisher's final pdf. Article appears in Journal of International and Global Studies Volume 9, Number 2 and is copyrighted 2018 by the Center for International and Global Studies. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Article is available online at:

Persistent Identifier