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TREASURY DEPARTMENT

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTS

ISSUED WEEKLY

BY THE

UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE

CONTAINING INFORMATION OF THE CURRENT

PREVALENCE OF DISEASE, THE OCCURRENCE

OF EPIDEMICS, AND RELATED SUBJECTS

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WASHINGTON
COVEENMENT PRINTING OFFICE

m,

PUBLIC HEALTH
REPORTS

ISSUED WEEKLY

BY THE

UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE

CONTAINING INFORMATION OF THE CURRENT

PREVALENCE OF DISEASE, THE OCCURRENCE

OF EPIDEMICS, AND RELATED SUBJECTS

[merged small][graphic]

WASHINGTON

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

_____ _*.

ADDITIONAL COPIE8

Or THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE PROCURED FROM

THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

WASHINGTON, D. C.

AT

5 CENT8 PER COPY

Bit

r.38

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTS

VOL. i8 JULY 6, 1923 No. 27

A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION OF THE ABSENCE OF BUBONIC PLAGUE IN COLD COUNTRIES.1

By H. McG. Robertson, Surgeon, United States Public Health Service.

A study of the reports of plague occurrence as published in the Public Health Reports 2 shows that in the past 26 years bubonic plague has spread in an east and west direction from India until, at the present time, it may be found encircling the globe in a rather broad band, bounded, roughly, by the thirty-fifth degree parallel north and south of the Equator. This plague circle of the globe was completed as far back as 1914, when the disease appeared for the first time in one of the cities of our Southern States. Bubonic plague has appeared north of the thirty-fifth parallel north latitude rather extensively in southern Europe; in fact, it may be said that in that part of the world the forty-fifth latitude north more probably describes the northern boundary. It is also noted that in our own country this disease, appearing in San Francisco, is north of the thirty-fifth parallel. Reference to climatic conditions along the Mediterranean coasts and in San Francisco will show that the temperatures are markedly modified in these localities as compared with the temperatures in other parts of the United States and in other countries of this same latitude. This, of course, is due in great part to ocean currents and to the warm waters of the Mediterranean.

While bubonic plague has spread around the globe during this 26year period, there has been no such corresponding spread to the north and south of parallels 35, with one notable exception, namely, the British Isles. And here we see again the climate modified to a great extent, in this instance by the Gulf Stream. Notwithstanding this modification of climate, and in spite of the fact that bubonic plague has appeared in different places in Great Britain as often as twenty times during the past 26 years, there has been no general spread of the disease in Great Britain during this time, nor any spread at any time from city to city; and during the year 1922 and up to May, 1923, nocases of or deaths from plague have been reported in Great Britain. In

1 Editorial Note.—The article here published is valuable as a summary of the history or plague during the periods studied; but, taking into consideration the past history of this disease, it is believed that the period of observation is ranch too short to justify definite conclusions. The Public Health Service has begun flea sur. eys at one or more North Atlantic ports.

'These reports arc received from medical officers of the Public Health Service, American consuls, health authorities of foreign countries, and other sources. - Ed.

S1374*—23 1

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