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propagation of rats, and that the Secretary confer with the Governor as to the best means of attaining this object.
Resolved, That the State Board of Health of the State of California invite the Surgeon-General of the United States Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service to call at an early date a conference of that Service with the State Boards of Health in San Francisco.
FLEAS. One of our exchanges, after quoting the article on plague in the last Bulletin, says "Now if the Board will tell us how to quarantine against fleas when the open season arrives it will confer a still greater favor." Could we do this in its entirety much suffering could be prevented and many lives saved. Unfortunately, we know of no way to entirely keep rid of fleas, but very much may be done. The very means that will prevent rats from coming to our places will prevent feas. A basement with a complete cement floor, which is kept clean and free from litter and rubbish, deprives the flea of the dirt in which it will live and breed. Floors and carpets should be kept clean and can be dusted with flea powder or sprayed with an insecticide which will destroy the fleas. Finely powdered air-slaked lime spread on floor or carpet and swept off will, it is claimed, drive them away.
They live and breed in the fur of animals, especially cats, dogs, rats and mice, and if they are allowed in the house fleas must be expected. There are on the market preparations which, sprayed into the hair of an animal, will kill the fleas. If animals must be allowed in the house these should be freely used, for animals are our most prolific source of fleas.
When we have learned to build our houses with concrete basements and foundations, to keep domestic and wild animals outside, banish carpets that can not be taken out and shaken each day, and have our floors built of some smooth material which can not harbor insects, we will have little trouble with fleas, but you can't quarantine the rascals. They have no respect for quarantine regulations, but by persistent effort and not allowing their breeding places to exist they can be kept away.
SMALLPOX. Reports from all parts of the State show a great number of smallpox
Unfortunately, many of them are light and no attention is paid to it, the patient traveling at will about the State, scattering the disease broadcast. Again, the disease is often diagnosed chickenpox, with the usual result of multiplication of cases. There is but one way to check it,—vaccination. This is sure and safe. With the present methods of preparing the vaccine lymph there is no danger, providing it is put on a sterilized arm and kept clean. No person properly vaccinated ever had smallpox, nor did a person ever die with vaccinia. When death has resulted from vaccination it was because an impure lymph was used, or the arm was not properly cleaned and kept clean.
At the present time our vaccine lymph is certified by the United States Government and is pure, and it depends upon the doctor and
patient to do the rest to get absolute and safe protection. Quarantine will not stop the disease. It acts merely as a check, but the undiscovered cases and those purposely suppressed will continue to spread it until every one is thoroughly vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Health Officers should watch closely and insist that the State law, requiring that physicians and others knowing of any communicable disease, even if it be chickenpox or the so-called "Cuban itch," report the same to the health department, be obeyed. The common school authorities are much at fault for not standing straight on the law. They are not responsible for it, but have sworn to enforce it, and should do so, fully and conscientiously.
AN AWAKENING. Since August last, when it became evident that plague had secured a foothold in San Francisco, the Federal, State and Municipal Health Departments have been active in their efforts to eradicate it and to arouse the attention of the people to the necessity of a general sanitary crusade and the destruction of rats. These departments felt and knew that complete success in stamping out the disease could be accomplished only through the intelligent aid of the householder, but their calls fell upon deaf or heedless ears, and the newspapers referred to them as “political doctors”? who had to get up an excitement to hold their jobs, and refused to speak of plague where it was possible to avoid it. The result was entire apathy on the part of the public, and the danger grew.
The Council of the State Medical Society took up the work and called a public meeting for January 18, 1908, which was attended by a few business men. They learned, probably for the first time, the real conditions and at once began to work. On January 28th a well attended mass meeting was held, and a Public Health Committee of twenty-five appointed which went to work, with the result that San Francisco is thoroughly alive to the situation. Meetings of the different trades and occupations, of civic and religious bodies and social organizations are being held, where the dangers and the means of averting them have been explained. Circulars containing directions as to what to do have been sent to all householders, and the large employers of labor have had lectures delivered to their employés.
This is work that will tell and if it can be kept up plague can be stamped out. It is necessary, however, for other cities and towns to follow the lead and waken up, for the rat infection is outside that city and no one knows just how far. There is evidence of this awakening, and the cities across the Bay are beginning to hold similar meetings.
The State Board of Health called the representatives of the County, City and Town governments and Health Officers surrounding the Bay to meet in San Francisco for the purpose of adopting uniform ordinances and providing means to carry on a campaign of sanitation. This meeting was a success and a good deal of interest was shown. Nearly all the counties were represented and a permanent organization known as the Central California Sanitary Commission was instituted. Model ordinances were presented for discussion and committees appointed to perfect them. The Association meets again on Thursday, February 20th, when the completed ordinances will be presented both for city and county. Copies of these will be furnished to any place in the State that desires them. Many have already applied and we earnestly urge that all over the State the work of better sanitary laws be taken up.
HEALTH ASSOCIATION MEETING. The San Joaquin Valley Health Officers' Association will hold its semi-annual meeting at Tulare, at 9:00 A. M., March 10, 1908, and have the following excellent program: Plague in Interior Cities,
DR. RUPERT BLUE,
A. R. WARD, D. V. S.,
Hygienic Laboratory, University of California.
DR. C. C. BROWNING, Monrovia.
The Association is fortunate to secure the presence of these men, all experts in their departments. The meeting will be of exceptional interest, and all health officials and others should attend.
INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON TUBERCULOSIS. The following letter from Surgeon-General Wyman has been sent to all health officials and should be kept in sight. Every one interested in this branch of public health,—and who is not, -should, if possible, attend, but if not, become a member so as to receive the published transactions. They will be worth many times the five-dollar membership fee.
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, December 26, 1907. SIR: The prevention of tuberculosis is engaging the increasing attention of public health authorities and philanthropists throughout the world. There is certainly no more important public health question demanding the activities of sanitary officers at the present time, and it is desirable that our people generally recognize its importance and enlist in the campaign against tuberculosis.
The diffusion of knowledge with respect to the disease is no doubt one of the most important measures that can be instituted by public health officials. With the view to this end, an International Congress on Tuberculosis will be held in Washington, D. C., September 21 to October 12, 1908. At this Congress all phases of the problem will be considered, a number of eminent specialists from abroad having signified their intention to participate in the deliberations.
Section VI will be devoted to the national, state, and municipal control of the disease, and it is urged that all public health officials atend its sessions, participate in the benefits to be derived from discussions of the governmental responsibilities and activities, and as a result be better prepared to assist in a systematic campaign against the disease throughout the country.
TESTS OF RAT VIRUS. By MARGARET HENDERSON, Assistant in the State Hygienic Laboratory. The experiments, the results of which are shown in table I, were undertaken to show the efficiency of the various brands of rat virus offered for sale in San Francisco,Azoa, Parke, Davis & Co.; Ratite, Pasteur Vaccine Co., and Virus Danyz, Deutche Danyz-Virus-VertriebsGesellschaft, Berlin. The testing of a rat virus is not the simple matter that it seems at first thought. When a number of wild rats are kept in the same cage, the mortality from fighting and crowding is heavy. Furthermore, under such conditions, the equal distribution of dosage of the virus is uncertain. It was therefore necessary to keep the rats in individual rat-proof cages, the preparation of which in the number necessary was a matter of considerable trouble and expense.
The rats were obtained from the boards of health of Oakland and San Francisco, and were the ordinary gray or Norway, and black rats, caught by the city rat-catchers. They were put into individual cages on being brought to the laboratory, and were kept so, and fed on grain, for a period of two weeks, during which the 'mortality from the cage conditions, confinement and cold was very heavy. At the end of this time, when the survivors were supposedly more or less inured to captivity, feeding of the virus was begun. The food was in each case prepared according to the directions accompanying the virus. Oatmeal was used instead of bread wherever that was allowable. They were fed once at the beginning with the virus and then again on the eighth day, and at other times on grain. The rats.ate all of the virus that was offered them without hesitation. The checks were fed on grain alone throughout.
Of the checks fed only on grain, nine of the fifteen, or 60%, died in the thirty-five days during which they were kept under observation. Of those fed virus, in only one case was the death rate higher, and that was in the case of the Danyz virus, with its rate of 73% of deaths, in the thirty-five days.
All the rats that died were examined post mortem and various causes of death were found that were in no way related to the virus, such as tape-worm, abscesses in old wounds and the like. In the column headed, “Possibly dead of virus infection” are listed only those rats whose death was not obviously due to some of these other causes. Whenever the autopsy showed nothing, the death was attributed to the virus and the rat appears in this column. In no case did I observe the lesions that are supposed to be caused by the virus. Considering only these rats that did not obviously at least die of any other cause than virus infection, the highest rate of death is still that produced by the Danyz virus, 40% of the rats fed. This is 20% lower than the rate for the check rats.
As a result of these tests I am unable to recommend any of the preparations tested.
FOOD AND DRUG INSPECTION. The State Laboratory for the examination of foods and drugs is now established and equipped at the University of California, Berkeley. Samples have been received from several localities, chiefly from San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Alameda counties. These are being examined as rapidly as possible.
In connection with the work of the Laboratory the Secretary of the Board and the Director of the Laboratory are daily in receipt of a large number of inquiries relating to the proper labeling of foods and drugs under the new law. In order that all such matters should receive due and proper consideration, it was decided by the State Board of Health to appoint a committee on Food and Drug Inspection, consisting of the President of the Board, the Secretary, and the Director of the Laboratory. This committee meets at the Laboratory in Berkeley every two weeks for the purpose of discussing the various questions incidental to the food and drug inspection.
It is certainly gratifying to note, from the large variety of communications and their contents, the evident desire of the varied commercial interests to conform to the requirements of the law. The many different inquiries may be classed under several different heads, as stated herewith: A. The labeling of coal-tar colors allowed by the law.
By the terms of Regulation 14, adopted by the State Board of Health, coal-tar dyes which will be allowed are those permitted under the rulings of the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture. Those coloring matters are named and the circumstances under which they may be used are set forth in U. S. Food Inspection Decisions No. 76 and No. 77. These decisions may be had upon application to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
The coal-tar dyes allowed by law as designated in U. S. Food Inspection Decision 76, are given numbers, the numbers preceding the names referring to the number of the dye in question as listed in A. G. Green's edition of the Schultz-Julius Systematic Survey of Organic Coloring Matters, published in 1904. The list is as follows:
Ponceau. 3 R.
517. Erythrosin. Orange shade :
-85. Orange I. Yellow shade :
4. Naphthol Yellow S. Green shade :
435. Light green S. F. yellowish. Blue shade :
692. Indigo disulfoacid.