Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/149

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145
THE TYPHOID FLY

the Finns, the most cleanly of all, were the chief sufferers, not the Italians nor the Austrians. It is regarded as highly probable that this is due to the fact that the Finns lunch frequently during the day on cold food constantly exposed on their tables, while the Italians have three hot meals, and the Austrians also eat hot, recently cooked food. The Austrians and the Italians, I am told, use but little milk, and the Italians are great beer drinkers. The Swedes, like the Finns, have the same habit of eating cold food, and they, too, suffered from typhoid.

Is it any wonder, in view of the proximity of fever, filth and food, which I have tried to describe as existing there, and which the pictures shortly to be shown on the screen will still further illustrate, that the difficulties presented to the state board of health in combating the disease are very hard to overcome. I beg leave, however, to again remind you that the conditions which are pictured are such as might occur in any mining district where education did not have a constantly controlling influence.

I have already spoken of the foul smells emanating from some of the camps, and also from some of the locations. We found that in one or two of the camps where there was a breeze there were fewer flies than in others not so situated. But it should be borne in mind that a very few flies, if conditions are right, may be the cause of several cases of typhoid in a locality, and, conversely, the presence of hordes of flies would not necessarily mean typhoid when other conditions were unfavorable for this disease. We visited two or three or more miners' boarding houses where there were either cases of typhoid at the time of our visit, or from which typhoid patients had but recently been removed. The landlady in practically each case not only took care of the patient until he could be given a bed at the hospital, if indeed he were fortunate enough to secure entrance there, but also cooked for her boarders. Almost invariably in every such case we found the open privy, and windows more or less innocent of screens. At one such place visited, the conscientious housewife pointed proudly to her table, which was. with its burden of cold food, covered with netting, as she hastened to explain, to show her intelligence in this particular, "Oh yes, we always screen our table here." But here, and in many other similar situations, the flies were under the netting, crawling in large numbers over crackers, cakes and other so-called eatables, which many of these people keep on their tables all the time. At a house which contained a typhoid sufferer, the privy which received the refuse from the sick room was on the bank of a lake or pond, and this pond furnished water for washing to at least one family in the immediate vicinity. At one location visited there had been a case of typhoid in a house adjoining a dairy where about twelve cows were kept. The doctors accompanying us were known to the people, and one was asked to look