HOW TYPHOID INVADED PHILADELPHIA.
The report of the board of health of Philadelphia shows that the direct cause of the recent outbreak of typhoid fever in that city was the result of a careless—almost criminal— flooding of the big Manayunk intercepting sewer, which, having been done in a bungling manner,caused the sewer to burst and discharge its contents into Wissahickon creek, whence it was swept into the Schuylkill river close to the point where the pumping station supplying the Queen Lane reservoir is situated. The sewage, containing millions of typhoid germs,was pumped into the reservoir, and thus was a deadly peril placed directly in the way of thousands of consumers of the water served from that reservoir.
The flooding of the sewer occurred on December 16, and in that mouth alone over 500 cases of typhoid fever were reported to the board of health—258 of them coming after the bursting of the sewer, and from the seven wards getting their water supply from the Queen Lane reservoir. That the epidemic was the result of the criminal blunder was quickly ascertained by the health authorities;for the seven wards referred to figure in the report of the sanitary inspectors as among the best under-drained, the most remote from such swamp land conditions as might cause typhoid, and generally as being the best and most healthy wards in the city. In January 790 cases of fever were reported, being more than the Januarys of the four preceding years,when the grand total amounted only to 722 cases. February showed a record of 681 new cases,and it was not until March that a noticeable change for the better occurred. In that month only 332 cases were reported, and there has been such a corresponding decrease this month that the health authorities believe the report will show that the disease has been reduced to normal proportions. While, however.this condition of affairs is due largely to the efforts of the physicians and the caution of the people, it must also be borne in mind that natural conditions nave been at work. Reasonably pure water has been constantly pumped into Queen Lane reservoir as that typhoid fluid has been pumped into the mains, and this gradual substitution of the pure article for the impure has exhausted the force of the germs, which have either been consumed by victims of the disease or have died off.