Typhoid Germs in New York.
By the addition of a new system of bacteriological analysis to the chemical analysis of the water supply of New York city, it will now be able to detect in two days how far and by what class of pathogenic bacteria the water is polluted. This is due to the experimental tests made by Dr. D. D. Jackson and his assistant, Thomas Melia, in a laboratory now established by the city. These tests will be made in future every two days, so that there need no longer be any danger of any pollution escaping notice for a lengthened period. Dr. Jackson and his assistant have put into practice a new method of separating the different bacteria, and in their tests have made particular use of the Hudson river. He states that every analysis of water from that source shows typhoid germs in plenty. The water, of course, is not used for drinking purposes; but oysters have been fattened in it, and were, until a year ago, when the department of health put a stop to it. Dr. Jackson has superseded by a ready and expeditious process of isolation the old laborious and slow methods employed for separating the typhoid germ. He worked on the theory that, as the cases of walking typhoid showed the presence of millions of the germs in the gall bladder, bile would be the best medium for isolation. Accordingly, 1 part of water to 4 parts of lactose bile was put in a bottle, and the result, after incubation and the use of a new germ-food, was an easy isolation. The typhoid bacilli are among the most rapid movers in the tribe of disease-germs, and, as they are also quick breeders and of a marked characteristic, they were isolated without difficulty. The bile was sterilised, so that the innocuous germ would not be so much in evidence; then, after the bile and water had been incubating for a few days, the whole was transferred to a germfood discovered by Dr. W. Hesse, of Dresden, without which medium the isolation would not be possible. The same results were obtained in separating the bacilli of typhoid in milk. It is expected that tests of milk will in future be made in the same way. The intestinal germs, so injurious to infants and children in the summer months, can also be separated. The method Dr. Jackson has adopted was the use of bile in the way described, and he claims that in this way there was no liability of missing the typhoid bacillus, even when present in very small numbers. He stated that the saline quality of the Hudson river water does not affect the germs to a marked degree. In the waters of the two rivers that wash the city’s piers are deposited great colonies of the typhoid and intestinal germs, which are carried by the flies into the homes of those living near the waterfront. Every test made of the water resulted in bringing out swarms of the typhoid germ. This new method of water analysis will mean a great added security to all cities wherever employed, as it will practically insure the immediate detection of the typhoid bacillus, and thus make possible immediate efforts to check infection. An order to boil all water would be issued at once, and then the search for the source of contamination would be made. There are eighty-five places in New York citv and in the watershed from which samples of water are sent to the department, covering every source of the supply and tbe principal sections of the city where water is drawn. In the examination of these samples assurance is given that the department will know within two days whether or not the water is quite up to the mark.