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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/308

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304
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

or open wounds, or the shock occasioned by injury, or depressing emotions generalty, may predispose. There are many trades which may stand in a causative relation to tuberculosis. In the excellent book entitled 'Dangerous Trades' there are nearly sixty such occupations specifically considered.

It were impossible even to mention all conditions which might predispose to consumption. For we are told that living itself is but the body's response to environmental stimuli, either physical or chemical in character; and such are about as numerous as there are external phenomena. For my part, I would reserve the opinion that the whole of life is by no means comprehended in this tenet; still it is valid as denoting the innumerable agencies, which may make the organism receptive to tubercular infection.

May we then hope to fight tuberculosis with any measure of success? Yes, indeed. To do so, two objects must be kept in view: We must destroy the bacillus; and we must render the organism of the individual resistant to infection. The disposition of the tubercle bacillus is theoretically extremely simple. Tuberculosis as an infectious disease is totally unlike certain others, as, for instance, diphtheria or scarlet fever. One can not be sure, after having been half an hour in the same room with a diphtheria patient, that he will not contract the disease. If, however, certain very elementary precautions are taken, one may live with a consumptive for months or years without jeopardizing his health. It has been truly said that there is no place where one is less likely to contract consumption than in a scientifically conducted sanitarium for consumptives. For instance, all the dust in one of Dr. Trudeau's cottages at Saranac Lake was gathered together, and a culture made from it; and this culture, when injected into a guinea pig, was not sufficient to give this little creature tuberculosis. And we may observe, in passing, that consumptives, who have been cured in such institutions, go out as well-trained medical missionaries, teaching others the habits of sanitation and cleanliness they have accustomed themselves to. Nor is any other community likely to be as healthy as one in which such a sanitarium is situated.

The sputum of the consumptive must be destroyed; and our government inspectors must see to it that no tuberculous meat and milk gets into our markets. These are practically the only sources of tubercular infection we need fear, and if these things were thoroughly attended to, there would be no danger of infection.

There are many, indeed, who have in this direction an unnecessary and not altogether dignified dread. For instance, some time ago a young woman left New York City for the west. She was of splendid intellectual capacity, amiable, gentlewomanly and withal of an exquisitely sensitive nature. She had little means; and, in order to