Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

PUBLIC HEALTH

REPORTS

ISSUED WEEKLY

BY THE

UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE

CONTAINING INFORMATION OF THE CURRENT
PREVALENCE OF DISEASE, THE OCCURRENCE
OF EPIDEMICS, SANITARY LEGISLATION, AND

RELATED SUBJECTS

Volume XXVIII--Part II

Numbers 27652

JULY-DECEMBER, 1913

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

1914

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

By R. H. CREEL, Passed Assistant Surgeon, United States Public Health Service. Of all the parasites that have their being in and around the habitation of man the rat has less to justify its existence than any other. As devoid of any redeeming traits as the fly, which has been the subject of a nation-wide sanitary crusade, the rat is a greater pest because of its depredations and its possibilities for harm in the transmission and perpetuation of bubonic plague in a community. The latter consideration is of more serious import in seaport towns wherever they may be and in those localities where plague has once appeared, but with the world-wide march of bubonic plague in no city should its advent be considered as improbable.

Squirrels to the westward of the Rocky Mountains and the marmot in Asia are subject to the disease in a more or less chronic form, but these animals, on account of their infrequent contact with man, are a menace not so much in transmitting the disease to man as they are in being the source of a continued reintroduction of the disease among the neighboring rat population. It is, therefore, evident that the slogan "No rats, no plague” is very expressive of fact.

A brief review of the role this animal plays in transmitting disease and in damaging and destroying property will easily convict it of being a most undesirable denizen.

No discussion of the part taken by the rat in spreading plague will be attempted, except to say that plague is, primarily and essentially, a disease of rodents, chiefly the different species of rat, and that it is conveyed to human beings from plague-infected rats through the agency of the fleas which infest the sick animal.

When plague has once gained a foothold in a country, the cost of stamping out the infection will be manifold the expense attendant upon the eradication of any other epidemic disease. The toll of human life may vary according to local conditions, but always the commercial prejudice against a plague-infected port and the expenditure for eliminative measures will result in heavy financial drain. 101

(1403)

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »