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minutes to the ounce given as the usual time in the pamphlet. This slowness in volatilization led to considerable loss in formaldehyde, because the door had to be opened several times during the process to see whether it was yet completed. The danger of fire led to great unwillingness to leave it longer than was entirely necessary.
The results of these four experiments would tend to show that Solidified Formaldehyde is only an indifferent surface disinfectant, sterilizing but 67 per cent of the test objects when used in the proportion of 1 ounce to 1,000 cubic feet, and can not be depended on at all for penetration.
The last experiment was tried with a larger amount of formaldehyde, 2 ounces per 1,000 cubic feet, or four times that recommended by the pamphlet (page 3) for surface disinfection, and the maximum recommended “when unusual permeating potency is demanded, sufficient to kill bacteria protected by several folds of blanket.” Table VI gives the results of this experiment:
(In a room of dwelling house. i
All of the thirty-seven test objects exposed on the surface were sterilized, but the penetration was scarcely better than with the other set of experiments, even though the exposure was much longer and the formaldehyde was volatilized quickly.
I would conclude then that, so far as our experiments go, Dr. Leininger's Solidified Formaldehyde seems to be efficient surface disinfectant when used in the proportion of at least two ounces per 1,000 cubic feet, but can not, at that proportion, be depended on for any penetration. The fire risk in using it is not to be disregarded.
The probability that much of the disinfecting done is not at all effective is clearly shown by the above report, The solid formaldehyde generators, of which the Leininger is a type, are quite generally used throughout the State, and a belief that they were not effective, especially with the amount of material used, led to the series of tests which is reported Health officers will note the fact that the penetrating power is small, and if they continue to use this method, instead of the permanganate of potash method, much larger quantities must be used.
Although, owing to our mild climate, which is almost perpetual spring, flies are always with us, during the summer months there are more of them, hence the greater need of care. The fact that flies are one of the greatest causes of the spread of disease can not be too strongly impressed upon both health officers and people. There is nothing too filthy for them to wallow in, and, covered with the dirt and disease germs, they seek human companionship and insist on most intimate associations. They delight to bathe in our milk and scrape their feet on our food, leaving not only the accumulated filth, but other more nasty "spots."
Lighting, as they delight to do, upon open sores on man or beast, and covering themselves with the discharges and the excrement of the sick and then coming to us, is it any wonder that disease spreads ? Why should we tolerate the fly? Why not banish him from our towns? Why furnish him a convenient breeding place! We know they breed in manure. Why allow it to be piled up, for no other apparent reason than that the flies can breed ? Every city and town should have ordinances requiring all manure to be put in tight receptacles and removed at least every two or three days, and the health department should see that they be enforced. If this could be, a great step would be taken toward preventing the spread of disease.
Professor Woodworth, Entomologist of the State University, is anxious to have some town pass ordinances against flies, and allow him and his body of able assistants to study the situation and help to make a “flyless town.” What a popular place it would be !
SICK RABBITS. The public press gives information that the rabbits of Oregon are dying off with some infectious disease, and that some of them are being taken to Australia with the hope that they will give the disease to their kin in that country, and so relieve it of what has been a veritable pest. The United States Department of Agriculture is also reported as investigating the disease to find out its cause and history.
That the rabbits on the Pacific Coast and in Australia have been a drawback to agriculture there is no doubt, and their riddance would be a blessing, unless it comes at too great a cost. The rabbit is a rodent, and like others of its kind is subject to plague, and while the probabilities are against it, it is possible that this disease is no other. Should it prove to be plague, or some other disease that is fatal to man, the greatest care would have to be exercised or the human family would become infected. For this, as well as purely agricultural reasons, the nature of the trouble should be studied.
While the Department of Agriculture is investigating the cause of death in the rabbits of Oregon, we would call its attention to the fact that the squirrels of California are as much of a damage to agricultural crops as are the rabbits, and that in parts of the State they have died off completely from some disease. Large tracts of country are now free of them which a few years ago were overrun. The gain to farmers has been great, but several cases of plague were traced with great certainty to the squirrels, so the relief is not an unmixed blessing. While at present the disease is not active, it may flame up at any time, when we shall hope for the same activity on the part of the United States Department of Agriculture in studying the disease as is shown in the disease among the rabbits of Oregon.
We would like to suggest to the city government of San Francisco the advisability of passing an ordinance requiring that all business blocks be made rat-proof. It will pay by saving the immense destruction they cause, and we must not forget the danger of the rat as a carrier of disease.
A HINT TO CALIFORNIA MILLIONAIRES. Senator Redfield Proctor, of Vermont, is reported as spending $100,000 to build, and another $100,000 to endow, a tuberculosis sanatorium in that State.
For the good of mankind, the expenditure of a fortune in teaching how to cure, and better, how to avoid, tuberculosis, is far ahead of endowing an institution where arts and sciences can be learned. Education without health is of little use, and our country is already crowded with institutions for higher education.
With one in every seven dying of consumption, a disease which can be avoided and sometimes cured, there is certainly great need of properly conducted sanatoria where the infected ones can go, both for treatment and for instruction. Senator Proctor deserves, and will doubtless receive, the highest esteem of his State, for in no way could he use his wealth to such good advantage as in combating a disease that is more terrible in its effect than any other with which we have to deal. May the Senator live long to see the good results of his charitable work.
CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF HEALTH.
SACRAMENTO, AUGUST, 1907.
STATE BOARD OF HEALTH. MARTIN REGENSBURGER, M.D., President,
F. K. AINSWORTH, M.D.
San Francisco San Francisco A. C. HART, M.D.
Sacramento WALLACE A. BRIGGS, M.D., Vice-President, O. STANSBURY, M.D.
Chico Sacramento | W. LE MOYNE WILLS, M.D.
STATE HYGIENIC LABORATORY. ARCHIBALD R. WARD, D.V.M., Director...
University of California, Berkeley
VITAL STATISTICS FOR AUGUST. Summary.—For August there were reported 2,176 living births; 2,501 deaths, exclusive of stillbirths; and 1,760 marriages. estimated State population of 2,001,193, these figures give the following annual rates: Births, 12.8; deaths, 14.7; and marriages, 10.4. The corresponding rates for July were: 12.9, 14.9, 12.6.
Marriages were reported for the principal counties as follows: Los Angeles, 377; San Francisco, 348; Alameda, 219; Santa Clara, 86; Sacramento, 77; San Diego, 60; and Fresno, 52.
Births, so far as registered, were as follows for freeholders' charter cities : Los Angeles, 399; San Francisco, 380; Oakland, 181; Sacramento, 59; Fresno, 46; Pasadena, 42; Berkeley, 35; San José, 31; and Alameda and San Diego, each 30.
Deaths occurred as follows in the leading cities : San Francisco, 190; Los Angeles, 329; Oakland, 154; Sacramento, 58; San Diego, 41; Berkeley, 37; San José and Stockton, each 28; and Alameda, 26.
Causes of Death.—There were 367 deaths, or 14.7 per cent of all, from tuberculosis, 313 being from tuberculosis of the lungs and 54 from tuberculosis of other organs. Diseases of the circulatory system (heart disease, etc.) caused 346 deaths, or 13.8 per cent of all. In July there were 285 deaths from diseases of the digestive system, 119 being deaths of infants under 2 years of age from diarrhea and enteritis. There were 233 deaths from diseases of the nervous system, 53 being from meningitis; and 163 from diseases of the respiratory system, 107 being from pneumonia and broncho-pneumonia.
Typhoid fever, as usual, was the most fatal epidemic disease in the month, though the per cent of all deaths due to this disease was only 1.9 for August against 2.1 for July. The deaths from epidemic diseases in August were as follows: Typhoid fever, 47; diphtheria and croup, 29; whooping-cough, 16; measles, 14; malarial fever, 9; plague, 6; scarlet fever, 5; and all others, 10.
The following table gives the number of deaths from certain principal causes for August, as well as the proportions from each cause per 1,000 total deaths for both August and July:
Geographic Divisions.—The table below shows the number of deaths from main classes of diseases for the several geographic divisions of the State in August :