Smallpox Epidemic, Part XX

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-02-03 (Smallpox epidemic)REPORT FROM CLAY CITY
“Special Deputy” Discouraged
Over Smallpox Situation.

Dr. Wolfe Making Stump Speeches –
Dr. A. W. Brayton’s Visit to
Terre Haute

Secretary Hurty, of the State Board of Health, yesterday received a rather discouraging report from his special deputy, who he sent to Clay City to investigate the smallpox situation there. As a result of the report from the deputy, Secretary Hurty says he will go to Brazil, Clay county, to-day.

The report says that while the disease is probably under control at Clay City, Dr. Wolfe, who diagnosed the disease as chicken pox in the first place, is making stump-speeches on the street, declaring that the malady is still an infection of chicken pox. The report says that Dr. Wolfe is joined in giving these “lectures” by William E. Smith. There has been one death at Clay City. This was little Effie Smith, who died on the fifth day after falling ill. Dr. Hurty’s deputy says that in Lewis township, Clay county, there is a great deal of the disease and seeming nothing is being done to prevent its spread. In commenting on the situation the special deputy says: “I fear there will be many fatalities here yet.”

Dr. A. W. Brayton says he was not called to Terre Haute to diagnose smallpox as was sated in an evening paper. He had no seen a case of smallpox since he was at Clay City, on Jan. 19. His object was to arrange with the City Health Board of Terre Haute in regard to some matters of quarantine.

Dr. Brayton says there had been but three or four cases in Terre Haute and that the Health Board, Drs. Willian, Rice and Gerstmeyer, are perfectly familiar with smallpox and chicken pox, and have recognized every case on sight. The first case is recovering in the detention house. A Normal student, well broken out, has been quarantined in his mother’s house and is doing well. Dr. Willian has one suspicious case under quarantine. Allison Peck, who left the city while fully broken out Wednesday night, went at once to his home in Canton, Ill., two hundred miles from Terre Haute. His case was at once recognized and he was promptly quarantined by the Canton Health Board, and this board conferred with Dr. Willian by telephone.

Dr. Brayton says there is little to fear from smallpox in Terre Haute as the people are vaccinating, and the Health Board is active, kind and considerate, and has the esteem and confidence of the people. There is little danger from smallpox, the doctor says, in college towns, as the influence of all the higher schools, both professors and the student body, is in favor of vaccination. He does not expect a wide spread of the disease in the State as the physicians through reading, study of cases, and continued agitation, are quickly recognizing even the mild smallpox, and the people are aiding them more and more, and abiding by their decisions. Dr. Brayton says there has been very general approval of the decision of the Supreme Court, giving boards the right to vaccinate in times of epidemic.

The school authorities of Terre Haute are considering the subject. Probably nine-tenths of the students in the higher schools and colleges are now vaccinated. The boarding house room where Allison Peck lived for four days has been purified and the house will go on as before, as Peck did not mix with the boarders.

FIRST DEATH FROM SMALLPOX
Effie Smith, a Thirteen-Year-Old Clay
City Girl, the Victim.

CLAY CITY, Ind., Feb. 2. – Effie Smith, the thirteen-year-old daughter of Frank Smith, is death’s first victim of smallpox at this place. The premonitory symptoms began last Sunday. The eruption appeared and the fever subsided Tuesday, but the secondary fever made its appearance Thursday, and speedily developed unusual virulence. The victim died shortly after 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon. Severe hemorrhages were a feature of the later course of the disease. Dr. Fred and Dr. Vandivier, who attended the case, have reported other recent instances of hemorrhages in connection with smallpox, but no deaths have occurred.

“Report From Clay City,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 3 February 1900, p. 8, col. 6; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

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