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The Texas Cattle Fever

The Texas Cattle Fever image
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Dr. Salmón oí the üepartment oí agriculture ar, Washington roail a paper of oxeeeding interest before tho American public nealtb association at its recent session in Detroit on the subject oí Texas cattle fever. In ;he' brief discussion which followed, Dr. Kauch of the Illinois saniiary oommission gave some account of tlieexaminr.tionsmade at the Chicago stock yards in tho sumiller of 1868, and Dr. Ryan of Texas gave an intelligent statement of facts relating to the lever vvhich had fallen withiu his personal observation, and emphatically indorseü the accuracy of Dr. Salmon's statements. Dr. Salmón took especial pains to combat the tbeory put forth by m,mr investigators tlial tbtíi'tí is 110 sucb speeilic diseas-e :is the Texas oattle tover, but tliat tliö plague is the reaultof fome mystei'iüus procesa uí acoliiuation. A sii'kin!:-s ainonir caltli' ;ws W p ring to the Meription of what is now calliiil }n the various parts of the south Texas fevcr, Spanish fover, splenic fever and bloody murrain, appeared at Lancaster, Pennsylvauia, as lonsr ago as 1796. tt was afterwards knownln North Caralina and other states which brought cattle from the regions of t'o gulf, and IocmI laws were made to prevent its spread as early as 1837, but it was not sufliciently prevalent to attract any general attention until the year 1853, when peeple were beginnino; to look to the grazing flelds west of the Mississippi for ii suppiy of beeves for tho eastern niarket. At that time the diseaso apneared in Missouri in the track of a herd of about 450 head of Texan cattle, or "Spanish cattle," as they were then cnlied, lliey heing deseendants or the old Spanten stx)ck that was brought into Mexico. The herd had been driven into the state fiom Texas in the fall of 1852 aud wintered iu one of the soulhern c nmties. In the early part of June folio wing the drove were htarted for the rnarket, apparently healthy and in good order, and thoy proceeded slowly, stopping at intervals for pasturago by the way. Early m J uly the fever broke out along the road traveled by thi.s herd, and it prevailed witli great rnalignity until checked bv the autumnal frost. The diseaso reappeared the next year d the wake of other droves, ajd so contHued to return anuually witiimore or less severity until the war out ofi" all moveraents of cattle froni the south. From 18(50 to 1866 no Texas cattle went through Missouri, and there was no iever in that región, nor had it at any time boen propagated froni one northern herd to another. In 1866 and 1867 the Texan cattle wero again passing through the state, and tke ravages of the fever in Missouri were something terrible, single counties losinfr in several instances stock valuer at from $300,000 to $600,000. Thero was alao somo loss from the fever in Iowa and Kansas, but the disease did not cross the Mississippi till 18G8, when cattlo that had been brought up the nver by stcarnboat wero shipped northward by the Illinois Central railroad and so distributed through the state and especially eoncentratcd at the Chicago stock yards. The shipments begau about the iirst of June, and by the middle of July the fever sconrge had become the grealost that ever was knowu. The loss i i Illinois alone was ostimated at $2,000, 000. Commissioners wero appoiüted by that state and by Indiana, Ohio, Mich igan, New York, Pennsylvanin, New Jersey, Verniont, Massachusctts. Rhode Island, and Connoctieut wlio undortook sepcrato investigations and canie to widely different conclusions as to the origíñ of the disease, but wero agreei as to the nieans to be taken to preven its spread. The reniedy was the exelu sion or isolation of the southern herds Dr. Kaucli stated ILat o between 5,000 and 6,000 carcasses o slaughtered Texan animáis examine! at Chicago under his direction but on exhibited signs of being affected by the disease. His impression at the time wa that it did not exist in the Texas cattle at all, and Ur. llyan mentioned the fac that sueli a belief was held where th cattle came from, but that an agen sent to Chicago from Texas in that snm nier to examine and report, forraed the opinión that the Texan cattle did in fact to some extent have the fever them selves. Dr, Salmon's conclusión from a caro ful and ixhaustive examination is tha tliere ure portions of the sonthern bol of the Union, streching from the Rap pabanuock to tiie Rio Grande, in whic the fover is always to be fouud, a among human beings the cholera i always to be found in some parts o India, and the yellow fever in the Wes India ïslands. In these spocs. which ar for the most part low and swampy anc therefor peculiarly liable to malaria influence - like the "black lands" in Texas - the disease is much less vir nlent than when transported from its usual abiding place just as cholera aiid yellow fever aro Dr, llyan, who has always lived in wha he calis "the íever belt," fuUy corroborated Dr. Salmon's statement as to tho undoubted aud inereasing existence oí the fe ver in oertP.m locations in Texas and the other gulf states, and he mentioned tho snggeslive cireumstance that experiínced stock raisers will not buy ycarlings that come f rom the "black lwids." The important fact seems lo have been established beyond a doubt by Dr. Salmón, acting for the department with wliich he is counucted, that the cattle fever must be dcftlt with not only as a specifio disease which actually exists independent of climatic changas which frequently serves to develop i1". to a very remarkable and startling extent, bnt that it has its own home loca li lies, the boundaries of which are constantly being enlarged by movcments of the herds. Hisidea is to treat these arcas, which can be deflned with some approach to exactness, precisely as nests of cholera and yellow fever should be treated; to surround the disease wheruver it is founu by sanitary cordons and stamp it out. This can only be done by tho aid oí state, or perhaps by federal legislatiou, the dan ger being ouce understood is to b met by 1he lirm arm of the lavv ant cr.'ulicatcd or reduced to its minimun dimensions. Dr. Salmon'o paper perliaps th most forcible and conclusivo cxposi íion that luis been made of the charac ter and magnitude of tho greatest cattle scourge liiat this country hasknown It shows tho nature and oxtent of th evil we havo to conteud wilh, and sug gests tho only possibie reracdy. Th paper is opportune, and wlll do imic to s'.it, the legislatura and congress t thinking of what must bo dom; in ordl to preserve for tho United Status th rank of the lirst beef-prodneing coun try of tho world.


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