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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/149

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

pathologists now refuse to accept such kinship in any shape. The possibility of communicating even a mild form of disease by eating meat infected with rinderpest is not supported by any recorded instance; yet experiments whether such food would convey infection must have been tried millions of times. Instances are cited in which thousands of affected cattle were eaten during epizoötics with no bad results. Typhoid fever of swine was declared by Dr. William Budd, in 1865, to be the exact counterpart of enteric fever in man, but his conclusion has recently been found untenable after a most exhaustive research. The meat of swine ill with it is of inferior quality and diminished nutritive value, and is unfit for food in an advanced stage of the disease, but it does not carry typhoid fever. Epizootic pleuro-pneumonia taints the whole carcass of the animal affected, and communicates blood-poisoning by inoculation. Dr. Livingstone says that in South Africa the meat of animals that died of it caused malignant carbuncles in those who ate it. Dr. Letheby relates that a number of persons were made sick by eating sausages made of it in London in 1860. Dr. Gamgee mentions a prevalence of carbuncles in a convict establishment where such meat was used, which ceased when the use was discontinued; but similar meat has been used largely in Paris, the north of France, at Lille, and even in England, without visible dangerous effects. Cattle fed on parts of diseased hogs, and made to drink the food from diseased pleuræ, and animals in the Zoölogical gardens fed on the meat, suffered no ill effects. The communication of foot-and-mouth disease to man, according to Gamgee, "admits of no doubt." The disease has been transmitted by drinking the milk of animals affected and by inoculation, and there is a strong presumption that it can be conveyed by ingested meat. The existence of anthrax is determined by the presence of the bacillus anthracis in the blood of the subject. It is communicable by contact, for the bacilli can make their way through capillaries and large vessels, and can pierce the skin and insinuate themselves where it has not been broken. Experiment shows that the disease "can be as readily conveyed by food as in any other way. If any portion of food ingested contains live bacilli, or their spores, the consumer runs a terrible risk; and the tenacity of life of these organisms is so great we can not assign a limit to it." Several forms of disease have been referred to anthracoid causes. Whether they are anthracoidal or not can be ascertained by searching for the bacillus, which, if present, may be seen with a glass of not very high power. The communicability of erysipelas to man from infected food, though exceedingly probable, is hardly capable of direct proof. To convey it through food by inoculation only requires that it be present in the food, that the food be imperfectly cooked, and that the consumer have a minute wound in his mouth. With regard to tuberculosis, Mr. Vacher contends that direct evidence of the human form of the disease having been conveyed by ingested flesh from animals affected by bovine tuberculosis, or "pearl-disease," is wanting, although such flesh is daily sold and bought in the open market, and daily consumed by all classes. The indirect evidence "has really little bearing upon the point at issue."

 

Massage and Mental Hygiene as Curative Agents.—Dr. Play fair has given accounts in the "British Medical Journal" of three really wonderful recoveries from serious disease by the "Weir Mitchell" treatment, in which massage and mental hygiene are the principal agents relied upon. One patient, who had been unable to retain food in any quantities for five years, began to recover in three days, and in ten days had an enormous appetite; another, a sufferer for four years from partial paralysis, began to recover in forty-eight hours, and was well in a month; the third had been epileptic and partly paralytic for sixteen years. She began to improve in a few days, was out driving and walking in six weeks, and two months afterward went on a sea-voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, in the course of which she attended her former nurse through a fit of sickness, and from which she came back in robust health. The treatment in these cases consisted of removal of the patient from her home surroundings, and her complete isolation with her nurse; and systematic muscular movement, with the use of