Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/229

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MISCHIEF-MAKERS IN MILK.

an unventilated building formerly used as a meat-market. The ice-cream made from them poisoned eighteen persons.

According to Prof, Vaughan, tyrotoxicon does not develop below 60° Fahr., and is anaërobic—grows when air is excluded. Some very simple measures, then, are preventive:

1. Scrupulous cleanliness.[1] A little dry milk on the rim of a can or vessel may breed the germ which will find a culture-ground in fresh milk.
2. A low temperature—below 60° Fahr.
3. Ventilation in an untainted atmosphere.

It is but just to say that these precautions are generally observed by careful dairymen and cream manufacturers. There is grave reason to fear, however, that they are not generally observed after the milk reaches the consumer's hands. Also, the slightest carelessness may affect seriously that class of the community which does not speak for itself—the very youngest.

The symptoms of cholera infantum[2] and poisoning by tyrotoxicon have been proved experimentally to be very much alike, if not identical. Even the post-mortem condition of children dying with this complaint is shown by Prof. Vaughan to agree exactly with that caused by tyrotoxicon-poisoning in animals. The enormous per cent of deaths from the disease occurs between the ages of six months and two years, proving conclusively that heat and atmospheric conditions can not be the potent causes. There is only one differing factor in the life of those under six months and older children—the food. The younger class, then, must escape, because a greater majority of them are naturally nourished. Statistics[3] prove with increasing testimony that all artificial feeding is not only unnatural but hazardous, and to be successful requires the most intelligent attention. However, if all mothers and nurses could learn that milk exposed to foul or warm air for any length of time may not only sour, but become the vehicle of a virulent poison, perhaps the summer months would bear a better health record.[4]

One word of warning may not be amiss.[5] Whenever a young child is fed upon cow's milk, and this causes symptoms of disagreement, the diet should be changed at once either to meat or rice; for, if the chief mischief-maker be at work, the best milk will only furnish it with the medium in which it flourishes, and, deprived of this, it will inevitably perish.

  1. "Philadelphia Medical News," vol. 1, p. 676.
  2. Prof. Vaughan's address before the New York Academy of Medicine, May, 1888. "Philadelphia Medical News," June, 1888.
  3. "Of 591 cases in Liverpool only 28 had natural nourishment; of 341 in Leicester, only two per cent" ("Philadelphia Medical News," June, 1887).
  4. "Nine tenths of the mortality under one year of age is from preventable causes" (Dr. Wood's address before the American Medical Association).
  5. "Sanitarian," vol. xvii, pp. 308-311.