Smallpox Epidemic, Part LVI

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-04-05 (Smallpox epidemic), p. 3No Danger from Smallpox.

To the Editor of the Indianapolis Journal:
A large number on inquires have come to me of late from prospective students at the State Normal School in regard to the smallpox situation in Terre Haute. These letters, received from many parts of the State, show that greatly exaggerated reports have got out in regard to the number of cases of the disease in this city. One writer wished to know when the city of Terre Haute will be released from quarantine. Another says it is reported in his county that we have six hundred cases here at present. Still another wishes to know if it is true that a person can stand on the front steps of the State Normal School and count sixteen red flags. A letter just received says that just as the writer is starting, with her trunk packed, to come to school, she hears that there are so many cases here it is wholly unsafe to set foot inside this city. These and other letters of similar tenor show that there is a very erroneous impression abroad in regard to this matter. The facts are as follows: Since Jan. 1 we have had about thirty cases of smallpox and varioloid in this city. It has prevailed in so mild a form that some of the physicians even have doubted whether it was really smallpox. No case has proved fatal, and only a few have been serious. The Board of Health has dealt with the matter in such a thorough manner as to prevent the spread of the disease, and it has now practically disappeared. My understanding is that there are now but two red flags left, and that the persons quarantined in these houses will soon be released. All pupils of the public schools that have been out, owing to their refusal to be vaccinated, are to be readmitted on the opening of school next Monday, and the students of the Normal School are no longer required to be vaccinated. In other words, the disease has practically run its course here and is at an end. The Board of Health assures me in a letter that there is absolutely no danger of any one’s contracting smallpox in this city at this time. The State Normal School opens its spring term to-morrow morning, and the indications are that we shall have as large an attendance as can be properly accommodated, over six hundred having already registered, but I wish no teacher to be deterred from coming by a false understanding of the situation.

W.W. PARSONS,
President State Normal School.
Terre Haute, Ind., April 4.

“No Danger from Smallpox,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 5 April 1900, p. 3, col. 3; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 3 Feburary 2015).

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