Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/153

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149
THE TYPHOID FLY

since. We believe, therefore, that the dysentery in Hibbing in July and August of the present year was caused by germs of the same character, brought by the flies from garbage, manure and other filth to food or drinking water.

This closes our account of conditions existing in this district. Suffice it to say that we left that locality impressed with the existence of the following significant factors: Exposed foulness of all kinds, including pathological excreta, in close proximity to human food; an enormous number of flies congregating in towns and settlements, where an abundance of moisture and filth was found; absence of screens on windows and doors, and dense ignorance and indifference on the part of the miners.

In view of these conditions and the danger present every summer, the question as to what is going to be done about it is an important one. The difficulties which the state board of health and various city boards of health have to contend with have been set forth in the above. To what has been said we should also add that the foreigners, for the most part, have not been used to having medicine donated them in the old country, and refuse frequently to use the remedies offered by medical representatives. It is evidently a fact also that they are not used there to the civic freedom which they find in their new homes; that in the old country they were under closer and stricter surveillance, in other words, they were "kept in line with a club," metaphorically speaking. These factors, coupled with ignorance, indifference and a false attitude of resignation to every ill, are what the physicians of that section have to fight. Some of the miners will obtain and use the chloride of lime they are directed to apply to typhoid excreta emptied into open vaults; some will use it if it is brought to them, but many not only will not purchase it, but even if it is furnished them, have to be visited constantly and made to use it. This points to one crying need in this matter, namely, constant watchfulness over cases on the part of the city or state authorities. In addition, enforcement of municipal laws, increased hospital facilities on the part of the mining companies, additional sewers, pictorial warnings, or, in other words, illustrated circulars in the different languages, which they will read and heed. Preventive measures may have to be made compulsory. Each locality may have to furnish chloride of lime either at the expense of the city or mining companies, and daily official visits made by properly authorized officials to affected houses. The women of the higher classes, in defense of their own families, if for no more altruistic reason, may have to enter the crusade. They could do much among people who either can not or will not understand the dangers with which they are beset.

The cloud is not, however, without the traditional silver lining, and there is promise of better things.