Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/331

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TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE.

either is potential murder, and is coming to be so regarded; and the next touches the sphere of the affections, as it has saved thousands and thousands of lives, as a long catalogue of diminished death-rates testifies. At the World's Fair Dr. Abbott had prepared a series of sanitary maps of Massachusetts, exhibiting the comparative ravages of the communicable diseases. The towns most deeply stricken by them were colored a bright carmine, and, by different patterns of cross-hatchings, the greater or lesser prevalence was indicated by lighter and lighter shadings, till at last one or two happy localities were left a pure white. In the map of Typhoid Fever one was instantly struck with the deeper dye of the rural districts, while for a radius of a hundred miles around Boston hardly a town showed more than a mild pink, and the general effect changed the whole aspect of that half of the State. The reason is not far to seek. The perpetual exhortations to "get pure water" have so moved the people that perhaps there is more "piped" water in that section than in any other equal area in the United States, a fact that takes on fresh significance when we consider that there is a population of two hundred and seventy-five persons to the square mile, and that parts of it have been lived in more than two centuries and a half. Such conditions call for much more vigilant supervision than "out west," where one person to the square mile lives on fresh, uncontaminated soil. That lighter shading means that to-day thousands of young men and women are "breathing this sweet air of life" who, but for the action that led up to it, and all it means, would be filling untimely graves.

The whole subject of vaccination, revaccination, and the establishment of vaccine stations where pure, active, and fresh bovine lymph is produced, has been so frequently and thoroughly discussed and acted upon by the several boards, that it is strange that any intelligent person should allow himself or his family to remain for a day unvaccinated. Still, in Minnesota seventy per cent of the school children are not vaccinated, and the knowledge of this fact so moved the State Board, that they at once established a station for the production of a safe virus. In Massachusetts, in the epidemic of 1872, there were five thousand six hundred and six cases of it, and in one year since there were but two. Self-interest has protected the State from the evil result of the incursion of unvaccinated French Canadians, for they are not allowed to go to work in the factories till after they show the vaccination certificate. In Rhode Island general gratuitous vaccination and the compulsory vaccination of school children have reduced the mortality to one twentieth of what it was, though this is a manufacturing State, subject to the irruption of hordes of the unvaccinated.