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Dangers To The U. S. Army

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Below is given the full text of an address delivered by Dr. W. B. Hinsdale, dean of the Homeopathic Medical College, before the Unity Club on Monday evening. The lecture was listened to by a good sized audience and was received with mach attention : Sorue diseases, like races of men, are indigenous to certain localities, others quite generally dispersed. As we oan trace races to their original habitats, so can we trace diseases to pretty definite quarters of the globe; especially inféctious and contageous diseases. As the peculiar wants of some animals can only be supplied within limited environments, while others are more general, so with diseases some being oonfined to certain looalities others universal. Thus, malaria soon disappears wben transferred to uplands, while typhoid and many other diseases travel the world around. Still furtber, some plants and animáis change their features and habits when bred in a new country, so with diseases, even beooming more fatal. Thus an unacclimated person will be more severely at tacked by the diseases indigenous to a certain looality. Thesimilarity between certain diseases and living bodies seems to be sometbing more than a coincidenoe. In faot the microsoope has proved that the cases of contageous and infectious diseases are living organisme like the grasses of the fields or the birds of the air. In our study of lands and localities we often overlook, wbat is of vital interest to us, the diseases indigenous to them. When, however, we are obliged to send our friends to oonquer them, our disconcern cuanges to the keenest apprehension. In the case of Cuba, the diseases to be dreaded are mostly tbose peculiar to a tropical climate and a country so notoriously ueglected in regard to its sanitation. Especially is this true at this time of year. The risk to our army going to Cuba in the late autumn would be many times less than for them to go now. Aside froin the miasmatic diseases to be enoountered, there are the fatalities from heat-stroke during this heated term. The question is often asked, wbat is yellow fevei? Briefly described, it is an infeotious disease prevalent in tropioalkcountries. It ia nndoubtedly an indigenous disease to the Island of Cuba where it pievails endemically. Havana is notoriously a yellow fever oenter. There is no doubt about this disease being what is called a germ disease, but so far as our positive knowl dge o: the germ itself is concerned it is still hypothetical. The disease is probably not oonta geous but higbly infectious. Some autborities maintain that the infection is communicated by means of the atmosphere, others, that like the typhoid germ, it is only communioated through substanoes taken into the alimentary canal, mostly as foods and drinks. It is supposed that the poison is not given off, in an active form, by the person diseased, bnt undergoes subsequent de velopment in a favorable soil. Some of the favoring causes of its de velopment are: a very high degree of temperature, atmospherio humidity, a low elevation, uubygienio conditions, intemperance, and pbysical exbaustion Frost absolntely destroys it. A person once haviug yellow fever will probably not have it agaiu The prernonitnry symptonis are: indefinite headache, languor, loss of appetite, etc Yellow fever is charactsristically a disease of two periods. Usnally tbere is a chili at first, promptly followed by a reaotionary fever. Voraiting is one of the charaoteristic symptoms. The marter vornited early in the disease may be streaked witb blood. At the close of the first period convalescense may begin and go on uninterrupted till f uil recovery. Or the patiënt may present prostration distiess in the bowels. and a yellowisb tint of the skin, frum wbioh the disease takes name. The vomit at (bis period is coffee-ground in appearance, and blaok. This is the fearfnl blaok vomit. Some of the things to be observed by the individual are: keep diy, avoid the use of alcohol in any forra, also all native fruits exoept the lemon, and any kind of food nnless it has bnen previouly sterilized by heat. If it is true that the infection is only introdnoed into the body by way of the alimentary tract, theoretioally prevention is easy, becanse if nothiug be taken into the stomach in the way of food or drink bnt what bas been fjost before sterilized by oooking or boiling, the geruis will certainly be killed and theie can be no more risk in conneotion with yellow fever than in connection with typhoid wheu the same precautions are observad. Immense boilers will have to be oonneoted with everycamp for the pnrpose of boiling drinking water. Sterilizing ovens will also hava to be established for the fresh roasting of hard-tack, and all foods will have to be oooked or raised to tbe boiling point imruediately before nsing. All campa should be located on high gronnd. Prevailing winds from snspicions localities shoulfl be avoided. All important is dryness of the soil. All cots and beds for the raen should be as high abovs the gronnd as possible. The men should be obliged to sleep with covering however warm the night may be. They should have as much bedding as possible between them and the giound. Tbe striotest rales against intemperance and debauchery should be enforced. While yellow fever is tbe disease most dreaded in tbe popular mind in relation to a Cuban expedition, however, so far as its prevalenoy is conoerned it will not ocoupy the highest place. Malarial diseases will destroy more lives of northern white soldiers going to Cuba thau any other disease, exoept diarrboeal and dysenteric effections. The tame old fasbioned agne is bnt the slightest suggestion of the tropioal maaria tbat ofren kills the patiënt with the firet stroke. The telurio oonditions favorable to the malaria germ propagation are darnpnessof soil. stagnant water, abundance of vegetable growtb, and a mean temperatnre for 24 hours above 65 degrees. In onr stndy of the report of tbe Surgeon General of the U. S. A. for tbe civil war we find tbe following interesting statistics. Of thosa affeoted by the diseases uamed below, the peroentage of deaths among the wbites and coloied is as follows : WHITE. Per Disease. Cases. Deaths. cent. Typhoid fever 73.368 27,056 36 Yellowfever 1,181 409 36 Smallpox, 12,236 4,717 30 Diarrhea, dysentery ..1,903,562 39,446 2-3 Malaria 1,213,685 12.1S9 1 COLORED. Per Disease. Cases. Deraths. cent Typhoid fever 4,094 2,280 50 Yellow fever 190 27 14 Smallpox, 6,716 2.341 34 Diarrhea, dysentery.. 153,939 6,754 4.4 Malaria 352,141 1,923 1.3 The mortality among tbe Spanish soldiers in Cuba for 1897 was: Dysenteric diseases 12,000 Malaria 7,000 Yellow fever 6,034 From a oomparison of the above tables we see tbat from a bnmanitarian point of view, the negro is not the soldier for ns to eend to Cuba, for we see his risk is gteater in every disease except yellow fever. With onr present knowledge of this disease, and the sanitary preoautions that will be taken in the army, there will be less to fear from tbis source than from diarrhea, dysentery, and typhoid fever, which, as we have already shown, are more fatal to the negro than to the white. This being true it will be especially dangerous to send colored troops to Cuba. A lady, six years teacher in Sunth America, would give members of family Spanish lessons, in exchange for home while taking law course in University. Address Ann Arbor Argus. 20


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News