Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/910

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Rubber — An Armor Against Disease Germs

��It is the shield and buckler of quarantine inspectors and health officers in general

���WHILE immigration from Europe has practically ceased because of the war, the number of ships com- ing into our ports daily is still large, and the work of the quar- antine officers at New York city has in no way diminished in importance.

In examining possible carriers of disease, whether they be human beings or animals, the greatest care must be exercised by the inspectors lest they them- selves be infected or their clothing offer hiding places for the germs. Here is where rubber comes in as an armor. Rubber uniforms are worn which cover the entire body from head to foot. These are worn by nurses and doctors alike and rubber gloves complete the outfit. The clinical thermometers used are held in a hard rubber case. It is not so much from fear of personal consequences that the inspectors, attendants and nurses use the rubber gar- ments, as to facilitate dis- infecting and washing up afterward.

Where typhoid fever is suspected, the suspect, or "contact," as such a one is called, is removed at once to a ward set apart for the treatment of contagious diseases, while those remaining on board ship are segregated and subjected to an anti- parasitic bath. Each con- tact has an identification number which is hung around his neck on a rubber cord, or necklet.

During the recent foot- and-mouth disease epidemic

��Disinfecting and fumigating the inspectors' clothing. The fumigating cape completely covers the body

���In examining cattle for evi- dences of foot-and-mouth dis- ease, rubber gloves and aprons are a prime necessity

��among cattle, the quarantine officers were called upon for quick and radical action. An army of i,ooo inspectors was formed and every farm and stockyard in the state was visited and thoroughly investi- gated. Each in- spector was clothed in rubber from head to heel, and in addition he was provided with a rubber fumigating cape and a tin basin and sponge, in order to give his rubber clothing a germicide bath of bichloride of mercury after each inspection. In order to disinfect the clothing lying closer to the body, a white rubber fumigating cape was fastened snugly about the inspector's neck and its folds spread out like a tent over a fumigating mixture composed of formalin and permanganate of potash. When these in their crystalline form are mixed, a vigorous reaction takes place and a large quantity of formaldehyde gas is liberated. Thus, before an inspector left a place, all of his clothing, whether of cloth or rubber, was thoroughly disinfected and as thor- oughly fumigated.

The actual disinfect- ingof barnyards, stables, stockyards and the like was of course carried out on a larger scale than would be possible by hand distribution of the germi- cide. In some places, for instance, the inspectors were provided with steam-driven disinfecting pumps capable of spraying a large area very quickly. Each pump had at least one hundred feet of hose.


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