© The Author(s) 2017. From the beginning of our civilization, the existence of infectious and contagious diseases required a search for solutions for both an individual and medical-health problem, and political interventions that involve a territory and population that must be managed. In this respect, epidemiology constitutes a strategic dimension in analysing the complex relationships established between scientific conduct and the political management of a territory. With this focus, we will provide a short historic genealogy of the links established between medicine and politics in European societies since the 18th century. From this, we should be able to see a movement from the concepts of healthiness/unhealthiness common to the ‘public hygiene’ managed by the 19th-century nation-state, towards the imperative of ‘public health’ operating with the ‘global health’ concept promoted by our current global institutions.
- political scales