THE TYPHOID BACILLUS.
In a week or two the exodus from country to city will have begun, to be followed as usual by the appearance of typhoid fever cases in places where such a disease should never appear, by an increase in those where sporadic cases are not uncommon, and a very marked rise in number and severity in those where it is so common as to be almost epidemic. The majority of such cases will he traceable not to local, but to outside conditions, to infection’ contracted at the various watering places and country resorts where the water supply was more or less contaminated, being derived either from polluted sources, such as rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds Hewing through, or bordered by towns, villages, or collections of houses discharging their sewage and corrupt matter into the water, or where that water was derived from wells situated near cesspools, privies, unclean farmyards, or pastures grazed by cattle suffering from the disease. Such water may be taken internally either as water, or in milk which has been kept in vessels that have been washed in the infected water, or has been contaminated in some way by the microbe of typhoid. That microbe may even have been lurking in the grass of some pasture or grass land, which has been flooded during some winter or spring freshet, that has carried down with it those disease-causing germs, which have lain high and dry till they have been taken into the stream in some fluid by being mixed with the food, or by actual contact by means of the hand, napkin, or handkerchief. Against those germs there is almost no protection. So far as regards the water supply filtration on scientific lines is almost a sure guarantee of protection. But for such a system to be carried on at the average summer resort is the exception, not the rule. The cost of the plant alone would be a formidable obstacle—to say nothing of the trouble involved in looking after it. As for the system being in vogue at the ordinary country hoarding house or hotel—the mere idea of such a thing is too absurd to entertain. Yet it is just in these places that the danger lies, and although the water may be clear and sparkling to the eye, the typhoid bacillus is as likely as not one of its invisible inhabitants. That germ is destructible only by intense heat—and there is a prejudice against boiling the water for drinking purposes. Its tenacity of life defies the influence of even powerful disinfectants, and it is frequently on hand, increasing and multiplying, for months after the epidemic has apparently come to an end only to cause its reappearance with, perhaps, renewed virulence. If the stream, or source of supply, is polluted, the typhoid microbe will lie perfectly comfortable, and in its effects equally fatal, even if lying frozen up in the centre of a block of ice for four or five months, as has been shown over and over again. The epidemic, of Plymouth. Pa., in 1885 originated from one case, and spread three months after the refuse of the sick room had been frozen in the snow and ice where it had been thrown. When the thaw set in. an adjoining water supply became contaminated, and in the course of ninety days afterwards not fewer than 1,200 persons suffered from the fever. Numerous similar cases are on record in rural districts, all of which tend to prove that the water supply of a neighborhood is the most fruitful and ready means of fever propagation.
The Nahant, Mass., fire department has been reorganised.