Archive for Thursday, October 7, 2010

100 years ago: Attention paid to sanitary conditions as typhoid fever spreads

October 7, 2010


From the Lawrence Daily World for Oct. 7, 1910: “Ten cases of suspected typhoid fever and one death in a restricted district bordering the open sewer across West Lawrence, is the appalling penalty which residents in that section are paying for the unsanitary conditions which have been allowed to exist this summer.... A committee from the city council, the county health officer, and the city sanitary officer made a second inspection today of the district in which thirty wells were sealed late yesterday afternoon. A ravine runs down the alley between Indiana and Mississippi and this slough was found to be swarming with bacillus Eberth, the typhoid germ. A more suitable culture bed than this filth infested ravine could scarcely be found in the congested slaughter house district of a great city. In the district bounded by Henry, Berkeley, Mississippi, and Ohio streets are more than thirty wells used for domestic purposes. Many are within ten feet of this germ polluted ditch. One well which supplied water for a home in which there is a very serious case of typhoid is within five feet of the ditch. The officers were appalled at the condition and to avoid an epidemic of fever in this section, they ordered every well sealed.... Officers Raided a Bawdy House Last Night -- A raid on a resort at 815 Vermont last night netted three prisoners. Two others that officers were unable to identify escaped through windows. Robt. Devan, proprietor of the resort, was granted a continuance. He is charged with maintaining a house of ill fame.”


Sarah St. John 7 years, 5 months ago

Hello Readers!

Since I thought that some of you might read OHT while you're having your breakfast.... or lunch... I thought I'd better save the really horrible details for the comments section.

So, if you're ready for the squeamish stuff, scroll on down. If not.... well, maybe you should just go read the 40 or the 25 until your stomach is feeling stronger. :)

"Manure and rotting cleanings from the barns and stables has been washed down its sides. Mouldy watermelon rinds in all stages of decomposition mixed with putrefying kitchen refuse of an indescribable variety blended their stench with the general odors of decay. Human excrement from at least one tottering old building which overhung the ravine, added to the revolting putridity existing along the entire length of the water course. The banks of this ditch was covered with fallen vegetation which is beginning to decay. Much of the water which comes down the Henry street incline is diverted into this ravine, where it washes through all this refuse and then seeps into open wells in the neighborhood.... This afternoon the health authorities followed the ravine as far as McCook field. The farther up they went the worse it got. Chicken intestines, decaying slops, pig pens, piles of rotting manure, open closets, and indescribable filth were all found contributing their quota to the conditions which breed typhoid fever germs. An additional twenty wells were condemned and the use of their water unless first boiled was prohibited. In the rear of the property of two county officers were found great piles of stable refuse which might afford a breeding place for every imaginable disease. In one spot several loads of refuse from a cow corral had been dumped. The health officers are issuing sweeping instructions for a clean-up in this entire district, and if it is not done immediately, warrants will be issued against the offenders early next week."

Sarah St. John 7 years, 5 months ago

I also have names and addressses!!

"The health authorities are active today in instituting a general clean-up of the infected district, and if it becomes necessary to pour kerosene in the wells to prevent the use of the water for domestic purposes, this will be done. Last week Mrs. Roy Brown, 818 Indiana street, died from an attack of typhoid. Among the other cases which have been diagnosed as typhoid are: Prof. F. E. Bryant, 1310 La. Chas. Mader, 900 block Indiana. Miss Susie Todd, 922 Missouri. Mrs. Nellie Henson, 828 Indiana. Frank Reveley, 839 Indiana. Miss Nellie Martindale, 820 Louisiana (suspected case). Miss Jessie Martindale, 820 Louisiana (suspected case). Herbert Surber, 805 Ohio. There is also a suspected case at 1406 Tennessee, in which the name is kept secret."

gr 7 years, 5 months ago

You mean it wasn't due to a lack of some vaccine?!

Interesting that the health officials didn't seem aware of these conditions until suddenly. Notice the date. One would expect better conditions on the horizon. Any wonder people were having typhoid and other diseases. Along comes cleanup time, screens on windows, and the diseases subside. So, does one blindly conclude global warming stopped the diseases? No! Neither did scraped pus vaccines.

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