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respiratory system. In January there were a few more deaths from pneumonia, etc., than from all forms of tuberculosis. Third in order, as usual, are diseases of the circulatory system, heart disease, etc., causing 306 deaths in February, or 13.3 per cent.
Typhoid fever, as before, was the most fatal epidemic disease, causing 30 deaths, against 20 for diphtheria and croup, 14 for measles, 13 for whooping-cough, 12 for influenza, and 14 for various other epidemic diseases. However, the per cent of all deaths due to typhoid fever was only 1.3 for February, against 1.9 for January, 3.5 for December, and over 4.0 for November and October.
Detailed figures on causes of deaths in California appear in the table below, which shows the number of deaths due to certain principal causes for February, as well as the proportion from each cause per 1,000 total deaths for both February and January.
Proportion per 1,000.
Cause of Death,
4 13 20 12
43 102 86 41 195 306 282 94 27 17 106 140 20 70 47 159 131
7.4 45.9 60.6
8.7 30.3 20.3 68.8 56.7
6.1 2.8 2.0 8.1 5.3
4.4 142.6 15.0 46.9 38.4 21.0 80.8 142.2 118.4 461 13.7
6.1 40.8 61.8
4.8 29.5 17.4 63.8 62.6
CALIFORNIA PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION. As announced in the January Bulletin, the California Public Health Association will meet at Del Monte, Monterey, at 2 P. M. April 15th, with the following
PROGRAM. 2:00 P. M. Greetings by the President,
DR. WM. SIMPSON, San José. 2:30 P. M. Geology of Underground Waters and Mineral Springs,
PROF. HENRY Johnson, Palo Alto. 3:30 P. M. The Effect of School Life on Children's Health,
Dr Chas. F. CLARK, Woodland.
7:30 P. M.
DR. A. E. OSBORNE, Santa Clara. 8:30 P. M. Questions and discussions on any subject desired pertaining to
sanitation or health of mankind.
At the time of going to press the subject of Dr. Osborne's paper had not been received, but from the Doctor's long experience with children, and his careful study of their mental, nervous, and physical conditions we can be assured that whatever the branch of the subject of child life he may select its treatment will be vigorous, scientific, and interesting.
The President of the Association, Dr. Simpson, of San José, has made a strong effort to insure an interesting meeting, and it now depends upon the health officers of the State, and all others interested in good health, and especially in the well-being of the children, to turn out and make it a success.
Although not entirely given over to the study of child life, the intention is to make that the main topic of discussion, and certainly there is none which needs to be discussed more than this.
PURE FOOD AND SANITARY LEGISLATION. The Legislature which has just adjourned enacted several laws which are of great importance to the State, looked at from the standpoint of public health.
First among them are undoubtedly the Pure Food and Pure Drug laws. These laws were passed only after long and frequent hearing and consultations in the Public Health committees of the Assembly and Senate-hearings in which all industries affected by the laws were given full opportunities to express their views. As far as definitions and requirements go, these laws are nearly identical with the national law. The standard of purity and strength in that law was adopted in these, and the rules and regulations adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture for its enforcement will undoubtedly be adopted in this State. The advantage of this uniformity must be apparent to all, as it would be much more difficult to enforce à law where two standards of purity existed.
The enforcement of the Act is put upon the State Board of Health, which is required to establish a laboratory and appoint a director, who must be a skilled pharmaceutical chemist. Agents can be appointed as necessity requires, and every sheriff in the State is made an agent of the Board, and must collect samples for analysis whenever called upon to do so.
The interests of the manufacturers and dealers are safeguarded against any unjust attempt to do them injury; but the punishment by a fine of not less than twenty-five nor more than five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both, and the certainty of getting an undesirable advertising, should deter them from inflicting impure adulterated food and drugs upon the public.
Another law which was enacted in the interest of sanitation makes it a misdemeanor “to discharge mucus from the nose or mouth, or spit upon any sidewalk of any public street or highway, or upon any part of any public building or railroad train, street car, stage, ferry-boat, steamboat, or other vessel or vehicle used for the transportation of the public." The value of this law will be appreciated by all who have observed and who has not?—the terribly foul condition of all the places enumerated caused by the filthy and dangerous habit of public spitting.
In the past there has been no State law requiring physicians and others to report communicable diseases. Local ordinances required it, but a person outside the jurisdiction of that local ordinance was under no such obligation to do so. This is remedied by a law requiring the reporting, by physicians, nurses, and others, of all communicable diseases, including pulmonary tuberculosis. This should be strictly observed and enforced throughout the State, for it is impossible to successfully combat a contagious disease, the location of which is unknown.
There is now in the Governor's hands awaiting his signature a bill passed by both houses of the Legislature, appropriating $2,000 to be used in disseminating knowledge among the people of California as to the best means of preventing the spread of tuberculosis. As more than four thousand die each year in the State from this disease, $2,000 is not much with which to attempt to save them. It is less than fifty cents each; but where so many are dying from a disease which might have easily been prevented had they only known how, untold good can be done with this small amount.
HUNGRY SCHOOL CHILDREN. “After bread, education is the first need of the people.' So runs Danton's fine phrase which has been inscribed upon one of the finest public monuments of Paris, and which the visitor frequently sees displayed in the public schools of France. More than two thousand years before Danton, Aristotle had said the same thing in a phrase not less luminous or striking than that of the French revolutionist. 'First the body must be trained, and then the understanding,' declared the great philosopher.
“That education is a social necessity is no longer seriously questioned, but the other idea of the French revolutionist and the older philosopher, that education must come after bread—that it is alike foolish and cruel to attempt to educate a hungry child-is often lost sight of. In the early days of the agitation for free and compulsory education it was not infrequently urged that before the state should undertake to compel a child to attend its schools and receive its instruction it ought to provide for the adequate feeding of the child to enable it to receive the education. That argument, happily, did not prevent the establishment and development of public education, but now that the latter institution has been firmly rooted in the soil of our social system, there is an increasing belief in the inherent wisdom and justice of the claim that the state has no moral right to attempt to educate an unfed or underfed child.
“Apart from the question of moral right is the unwisdom of such a policy. All practical educators agree that the money and etfort spent in the endeavor to instruct hungry or underfed children are largely wasted. Superintendent Maxwell of the New York public schools sums up the experience of the ages when he says, 'Education, whether physical or mental, is seriously retarded, if not practically impossible, when the body is improperly nourished. Horace Greeley expressed the same truth many years ago, when he said in a lecture to teachers: 'In vain shall we provide capable teachers and comfortable school-rooms, and the most admirable school books, apparatus, libraries, etc., for those children who come shivering and skulking in rags—who sit distorted by the gnawings of hunger or suffering from the effects of innutritious or unwholesome food.
Nothing more grotesque or shortsighted can well be imagined than our present policy of lavishing money upon the vain effort to educate those children, to be found in such large numbers in our public schools, who, because they are inadequately nourished, can not profit by the expenditure.”
The above from John Spargo's “Underfed School Children, the Problem and the Remedy," opens a whole chapter of thought for one interested in the proper development of the children.
In California, where the severe conditions of life are greatly modified by the fertility of the soil, mildness of climate, and general prosperity, there are not in our public schools such a proportionately large number of underfed children as in the large cities of the East, but if any one interested in the subject will take the pains to visit some of our schools, talk with pupils and teachers, or even watch the pinched and careworn faces of the little children, he will soon become convinced that even prosperous California has many underfed children. Watch these children for a few years and you will find that they become the street hoodlums, and that the inmates of jails and prisons are recruited from their ranks. As Greeley said, “In vain shall we provide capable teachers and comfortable school-rooms, and the most admirable school books, apparatus, libraries, etc., for those children who come shivering and skulking in rags—who sit distorted by the gnawings of hunger or suffering from the effects of innutritious or unwholesome food." They can not apply themselves to the task at hand, and suffer mentally and morally as a consequence. Much of the crime which fills our prisons and the pauperism and degeneracy which fill our hospitals could be traced back to the poor nutrition and underfeeding of the little ones.
It is equally disastrous to them physically, for the underfed child does not attain the same development as the one having proper nourishment. They are of smaller stature, have less developed vital organs, and have little resisting power, and if they live to adult age easily fall victims to disease. Consumption, the great white plague, which is carrying off one-seventh of our population, finds its easiest victims in the poorly nourished children, and any fight against that scourge which does not take into account this factor will fall far short of accomplishing all it seeks to do.
Looked at from whatever point of view you choose, the subject is of the deepest interest and concern to the State. Do we want to lessen the population of our prisons and asylums? Are we ambitious to produce a race of robust, independent men and women? Do we want to wipe out consumption and kindred diseases of low vitality? If so, we must look to the children and see that their physical development is properly guarded. No young animal can rightly develop without sufficient food, and the young human has no advantage in this respect over his cousins.
Without plenty of good nourishing food with which to begin the day the average child can not develop its physical strength, to say nothing of doing the school work allotted. As a result, we get our sickly, flatchested children, who have a slight grip upon life, but who live to propagate a race with equally low vitality -- our discouraged ones, who run away from school to find more inviting fields and who fill our prisons, and the others who soon fall by the wayside, victims to the diseases which make havoc in child life.
The need for some provision to feed the underfed children is manifest even here in prosperous California. Many of the European countries are progressing along this line, and some to a considerable degree. A few of our own states are attempting to furnish breakfast to those who need it. The plan is opposed by some on the plea that it will pauperize the child; but free education had to meet the same objection. Free school books, which are furnished in many places, and will some time be in all, are no more pauperizing than a free breakfast, nor are they as necessary as the breakfast to the hungry child.
MEASLES A DANGEROUS DISEASE. During the last six months of 1905 and the first six of 1906, 128 deaths occurred in California from measles-almost three times as many as from scarlet fever. These figures do not represent the unknown number who died from troubles arising as complications, such as pneumonia and consumption; a number which is, no doubt, several times as large.
Notwithstanding this death-rate, measles is considered by rery many an unimportant disease, and we not infrequently hear a mother say, “The baby has got to have them some time, and it might as well be now," and unnecessarily exposes the child. It is needless to say that this should never be done, but, on the contrary, every precaution should be taken to guard the child against the danger of infection.
It may be impossible to keep all children free from the disease, but it is entirely unnecessary and greatly to be deplored that any one be purposely exposed. Instead, every means should be taken to confine the disease and protect others.
The question is often asked if measles should be quarantined. A person with measles should most certainly be quarantined and not allowed, until past the possibility of communicating the disease, to mingle with others. The disregard of this precaution has caused the death of many a child, and whoever neglects it is, in a measure, responsible for such deaths.
The disease is actively contagious, but it is doubtful if any one not actually connected with the care of the patient would carry the disease to others on their person or clothing, unless they were themselves infected.
This fact can be taken advantage of, and the patient isolated in some remote part of the house so that the bread-winners of the family can still go about their work. To do this with safety it is necessary that the utmost care be honestly taken.
The room selected should be as remote as possible from the living apartments, and should be free from all unnecessary articles, such as drapery, carpets, upholstery, books, etc., and should be well aired and kept clean by wiping with a cloth dampened with some disinfecting fluid. Sweeping should be avoided, as lung complications are very liable to occur, and the dust caused by sweeping is an added danger.
Nothing should be taken from the sick room until disinfected, and all food left should be at once destroyed. The nurse should not leave the sick room to mingle with the family, and when necessary to leave it, should have a change of clothing. Children are very susceptible to measles, and should not be allowed to go to school or mingle with other children when the disease is in the family. They are oftentimes infectious, and will give the disease before any symptoms are manifest, hence the necessity of keeping those in the family who are apparently well away from other children.