Tag Archives: Dr. C. E. Ferguson

Smallpox Epidemic, Part XIV

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-29 (Smallpox epidemic)JOHN LANE’S TROUBLES

A Smallpox “Suspect” On His Way
To Cincinnati To Get Married.

He Created Consternation at the
Police Station and Was Prompt-
ly Ordered Out.

Commanding officers of the police force, with one exception, are anticipating much amusement this winter from smallpox scares, and the fun began last night. It resulted in a serious discussion whether or not there should be a large sign over the walk in front of the City Dispensary for the guidance of persons afflicted with smallpox, who invariably inquire in the police department for the dispensary. John Lane, colored, entered the office of the police desk sergeant about roll call time. All the sergeants were present, including Sergeant Lowe, who, on one occasion last winter, jumped from a window to get away from a smallpox “suspect.” Lane’s face was disfigured, and he no more than got inside of the room when someone said “smallpox.” Captain Dawson was holding a consultation behind closed doors, but Sergeant Lowe disturbed the conference to get away. Lane did not have a chance to make explanations, but was required at once to leave the room. He had before been in the dispensary and by the doctors there sent to the police department.

Lane said he had been working for a dental company in Chicago and on Monday last, while taking a bottle of sulphuric acid from a shelf, let it fall, turning the contents of the bottle on his face, badly burning it. He was unable to work and was given a pass, he claims, to Cincinnati. At Champaign, Ill., he lost the pass and was put off the train. His face was broken out and all to whom he applied for assistance turned him away, thinking he had smallpox. Finally the city authorities gave him a pass to get rid of him. The transportation furnished did not take him much beyond the county line and there again he was put off. He again applied for transportation and had no difficulty in securing it, and got a little farther on his way. He finally landed in Crawfordsville, where it was thought he had smallpox, and he was furnished with a ticket to Indianapolis. Physicians in Crawfordsville telegraphed the Board of Health here, and Dr. Ferguson was sent to the City Dispensary, where Lane had been instructed to go, to investigate. He found no trace of smallpox, and gave the man a letter to that effect. Lane had no money and as his only means of securing transportation had been spoiled, he knew not how he was going to get to Cincinnati. He was also much worried over the reception he would receive on his arrival there, saying he was going there to get married, but was afraid his affianced would go back on him because of the disfigurement.

Dr. Ferguson, while talking with Sergeant Lowe, told a story of the tendency to discredit a physician’s diagnosis of a case as smallpox, saying that when he was in a small town about a week ago he found every house in the village contained victims of the disease. He was standing in the hotel talking to a local doctor, who contended the afflicted did not have smallpox. Finally, after a number of men said they believed the diagnosis of their local physician, one of them asked Dr. Ferguson if he had examined the patients. He said he had and then the question came, “Have you been with them to-day?” “Yes,” said the doctor. “Well, did you change your clothes or disinfect them afterward?”

“No,” said Dr. Ferguson, “I forgot all about that. I believe I’ll have to do that now – “ but before he had finished the room was clear. His hearers evidently wished to take no chances.

No Cases at Salem.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
SALEM, Ind., Jan. 28 – There are no cases of smallpox in Salem nor nearer than several miles. The disease is confined to Gibson township, where it originated, with three new cases across the line in Monroe township, but no deaths. The report that Dr. Mayfield, health officer, has been threatened by Salem citizens is denied by him. The doctors of Salem are having all they can do to vaccinate all who come voluntarily. There are a few cases of violation of the quarantine, but all such offenders may have to answer for these violations as their names are taken and prosecutions will follow.

“John Lane’s Troubles,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 29 January 1900, p. 8, col. 6; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part VIII

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-23 (Smallpox epidemic)HEALTH BOARD MEETS
And Takes Measures To Fight
The Spread Of Smallpox

Dr. Hurty’s Action Is Indorsed by the
Board-New Cases in Different
Parts of the State.

The State Board of Health was in session all day yesterday discussing the smallpox situation. Dr. Hurty, secretary of the board, gave the other members of the board an account of the action taken by himself in behalf of the board, dating from the time of the first outbreak in Clay City. The board indorsed everything done by Dr. Hurty and then called upon Governor Mount to ask his approval of the immediate purchase of vaccine virus, to be paid for out of the state contagious disease fund, which in case of need is to be distributed to the local health boards of the various counties in which the disease is raging.

The Governor gave his consent and urged the board to do everything within its power to prevent the further spread of smallpox. The board also passed a number of general orders which will endow Dr. Hurty, in case of need, with the right to command the assistance of the county health boards. Heretofore he could only implore the people to protect themselves, as it required a general order of the State Board before action could be compelled of the county boards.

Seven new cases of smallpox have been reported from Clay City since yesterday morning, but considering the many cases it is to be expected. A rigid quarantine is being maintained and every road leading into the town is guarded to keep people from either entering or leaving. The feeling of indignation against Dr. Hurty seems to have subsided, as the president of the Clay County Medical Society, Dr. Felix Thornton, made a special call on the State Board of Health yesterday for the purpose of expressing his approval of the work done by the State Board of Health in Clay county.

Dr. C. E. Ferguson, who was sent by Governor Mount to investigate a suspected case of smallpox at Morton, a small town in Putnam county, yesterday, returned last night and said he visited the home of Thos. Nelson in company with Dr. G. W. Bence, secretary of the County Board of Health, where they discovered that Frank Nelson, aged eighteen years, had smallpox. The local officers immediately established a quarantine, and every available physician has been kept busy with patients who want to be vaccinated.

Dr. A. W. Brayton, who was sent to Miami county to investigate some reported cases of smallpox, returned last night with the report that the disease there was nothing more than chicken-pox.

Rigid Measures to Control Smallpox
in Washington County.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
SALEM, Ind., Jan. 22-The whole of Gilson township in Washington county is quarantined. A wire is stretched across each road and guards patrol the highways. There are still a few new cases of the so-called smallpox, but they are very mild, and there are no serious cases. There is one case at the home of Willard Nichols, four miles northeast of Salem, thoroughly quarantined and guarded. The Friends’ school, which is the county high school, one mile nearer town that the Nichols place, has been closed. People are being vaccinated, though there seems to be no great excitement or fear.

Two Cases in Sullivan County.

Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
SULLIVAN, Ind., Jan. 22-Two cases of smallpox have appeared in this county. Mr. and Mrs. Otis Bledsoe, who live eight miles northeast of this city, are afflicted with well-developed cases of the disease, which was contracted in Clay county where Mr. and Mrs. Bledsoe visited some time ago. A strong quarantine has been established.

“Health Board Meets,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 23 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part VII

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-22 (Smallpox epidemic)VERY FEW NEW CASES
The Smallpox Situation In Dif-
ferent Parts Of The State

Dr. Hurty Says the Disease Is Yet in a
Mild Form-Cases in the City
-At Clay City.

Dr. J. N. Hurty, of the State Board of Health, in speaking of the smallpox conditions last night said that a number of new cases had been reported to him from Putnam, Clay and Miami counties and that in his opinion the conditions were becoming serious. “You might as well say,” said he, “it is going to be everywhere. Might as well locate it everywhere in the State, for that is what it is coming to.” He said all precautions necessary were being taken to prevent the spread of the disease, but the people, and especially those living in Clay county, think on account of the present mild form of the disease there is but little danger and that they are at liberty to carry the disease wherever they see fit to go, with no regard for the quarantine. A large majority of the cases reported have been traced to Clay City. One case at Peru and another from Putnam county reported yesterday were in families members of which had recently come from Clay City.

“The death rate,” said Dr. Hurty, “will be greatly increased this year. Possibly not from deaths by smallpox, which is now of a mild form, but from the after effects, just the same as with the grip.  You know people used, seven or eight years ago, to laugh at the grip and the papers were full of cartons on the subject. But during the last few years they have learned that the grip in no joke. In fact, it has been shown to be more fatal than a number of other diseases more dreaded. It will be the same with smallpox. I think, though, the people will understand this after awhile and we will get it stopped.”

Dr. Hurty said he had been advised yesterday that a doctor in Vanderburg county had been fined there a day or two ago for not reporting a case of smallpox to the Board of Health.

In Indianapolis there have been no new cases reported. A. C. Burnham and wife, of 330 North Beville avenue, were removed yesterday from their home to the contagious pavilion at the City Hospital, where they will be cared for better than at home. The house was closed and will be disinfected to-day. It will then be disinfected two or three times and the quarantine raised, thus relieving the city of the expense of keeping up the quarantine. Burnham and his wife have the disease in a very mild form and as it was found soon after breaking out it is thought few exposures resulted and there will be no new cases develop from this source.

City Sanitarian Clark said the matter of building a pesthouse would be presented to the city authorities this morning, with rough plans of the building, which will, as now considered, accommodate thirty to fifty patients and it is thought the necessary permission to use the grounds will be given. The contagion pavilion at the hospital, which is not connected in any way with other wards at the hospital, will accommodate at least twenty patients.

Drs. Hurty, Clark, Ridpath and Ferguson, who were called upon to investigate a case in the home of a man named Leffingwell, on Linwood avenue, near Michigan street, reported yesterday that the afflicted child had chickenpox instead of smallpox.

Smallpox at Clay City.
Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
CLAY CITY, Ind., Jan. 21. – Health Officer Dr. Modesitt has had considerable difficulty in trying to keep smallpox suspects off the street, but with the aid of deputies he is getting them pretty well under control. The doctor is working day and night to secure the enforcement of the order and the people, with a few exceptions, are aiding him in the attempt to confine the disease to places where it now exists.

A few new cases are being reported, but mostly in localities where it already existed. The older cases are all reported better and but few are confined to their beds. No deaths have occurred. All outgoing mails are being disinfected. Every precaution is being taken to prevent the persons who have the disease and those from houses where it exists from going to the postoffice.

Five cases just east of here, in Owen county, were reported to Dr. Modesitt this morning and he reported them to the Spencer Health Board. A few cases have been reported here from Centerville, Jasonville and from the country west of here four miles. As far as heard from they are all mild cases.

Refuse to Get Excited.
Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind., Jan 21. – Terre Haute physicians and public at large refuse to be excited over the reports made by the Indianapolis doctors of the spread of smallpox in this part of the State. The physicians say there have been cases of chickenpox here and that one case, now isolated, may be smallpox, but they believe that it is not true, as asserted, that all of the cases at Clay City could have been smallpox. It is possible that the appearance of smallpox and chickenpox is a coincidence. Reports have been received from many places near here of chickenpox, and in some instances it has been so prevalent that schools were closed for lack of attendance.

Smallpox in De Kalb County.
Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
BUTLER, Ind., Jan 21. – A great many cases of smallpox have developed twelve miles south of this city. Members of the Tracy, Bishop and Furnace families are down with the disease. Hicksville, O., physicians have had charge of the cases and failed to report them to the Indiana authorities. Much excitement is manifest.

“A Few New Cases,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 22 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part VI

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-21 (Smallpox epidemic)SMALLPOX SITUATION

Mild Case Discovered on Be-
Avenue, This City

Dr. Hurty Speaks of the State Board’s
Dilemma-New Cases in Vigo

A case of well-defined smallpox has been discovered at 330 Beville avenue. The person attacked is A. C. Burnham, a former resident of Clay City, who visited that town a short time ago, and is believed to have contracted the disease while there. Yesterday morning his face was broken out with an eruption which Dr. J. F. Robertson, the family physician, at once diagnosed as smallpox. Dr. Robertson immediately reported the case to the Board of Health, and Dr. C. E. Ferguson was sent to investigate. He pronounced the disease to be a genuine case of smallpox, but said it was of very mild form. The house has been quarantined, and as no outsiders have been exposed to the disease, no apprehension is felt that it will become epidemic.

Dr. Fergusson said yesterday that if Mr. Burnham’s condition became serious, he would be removed to the pavilion for contagious diseases in the City Hospital as there is no pesthouse for such cases in the city.

The probable need of a pesthouse has awakened the City Board of Health to immediate action, and a joint meeting of the Board of Public Works and the Board of Health has been arranged for to-morrow night, at which time plans will be discussed for the erection of a pesthouse on the City Hospital grounds.

Dr. Hurty, secretary of the State Board of Health, received a letter from Dr. Mayfield, health officer of Washington county, late last evening, in which he stated that he had just returned from a two day’s trip through the northern part of Washington county, the same territory in which Dr. Robertson, of this city, diagnosed the supposed cases of chicken-pox, as smallpox. Dr. Mayfield confirms Dr. Robertson’s diagnosis, and says that he insisted on vaccination, but the people were to [sic] incensed because he had diagnosed the disease as smallpox that they indignantly refused to permit him to vaccinate them. He added, that as the people would not protect themselves he was compelled to establish a quarantine, which he would maintain for a period of two weeks, or until the period of incubation had passed.

Dr. Hurty also received a letter from Dr. Talbott, health officer of Vigo county, who says he has found several new cases in Terre Haute, and in none of these cases has a doctor been called. A rigid quarantine is being enforced and he particularly calls attention to the service that is being afforded the local Board of Health by the officers of the Evansville & Indianapolis Railroad Company, who have given orders that all coaches passing through the city of Terre Haute must be disinfected, and has instructed the conductors not to carry any passengers suspected of having the disease. A communication to the Indiana State Board of Health from the State Board of Health of Illinois says that it finds itself in practically the same position as the State Board of Health of Indiana. Dr. Johnson, a member of the Illinois board and a resident of Champaigne, Ill., was sent by his board to investigate an eruptive disease which was raging in the southern part of Illinois, and narrowly escaped being mobbed because he diagnosed the disease as smallpox.

In speaking of the dilemma of the State Board of Health, last night, Dr. Hurty said he could not understand how the citizens of this country could be so foolish. Said he: “In ignorant and superstitious Spain when the people were attacked with the dreadful scourge of cholera, they mistreated those who brought them succor, but who would have thought that almost the same conditions would prevail under similar circumstances in the advanced state of civilization supposed to prevail in this country? Nevertheless, it is true, and if the authorities did not pursue a determined course in this matter, there is no telling where it would end. There has been a great deal of comment on the fact that this disease is of a mild form, but these very people who laugh and sneer because some one is not dying every day, would be the very first to change their tune if they knew that there was not a single case of the mild form of smallpox, but what is attended with various disorders afterwards, that in many instances result in the death of the person attacked. They may die of brain trouble, kidney trouble, lung trouble or liver trouble-it doesn’t may any difference: the fact still remains that their death, if it should result fatally, lies at the door of the mild attack of smallpox.” Dr. Hurty said he predicted that the death rate for this year and next in the State of Indiana would be higher than ever before.

Diphtheria in Randolph County.

The troubles of the State Board of Health are coming thick and fast. Dr. Hurty received word yesterday that diphtheria was raging at Ridgeville, a small town in Randolph county, and that the local Board of Health was having the same trouble with the citizens of that town as has been experienced with the smallpox situation in Clay and other counties. Several days ago the citizens of the town sent to Richmond for Dr. Wiese, a specialist in diseases of this sort, and when he diagnosed it as diphtheria they became very indignant and refused to accept the diagnosis and refused to accept the diagnosis as being correct. As a consequence no quarantine has been established and the disease is very likely to spread.

“Smallpox Situation,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 21 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4-5; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part III

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-18 (Smallpox epidemic)WILL DISINFECT MAILS

Dr. Hurty Receives Word From
Government Official

The Postmaster at Lesterville Has
Smallpox and Is Still at Work –
the Developments

The smallpox situation in Clay county has excited the attention of the government authorities at Washington. Late yesterday afternoon Dr. Hurty, secrety of the State Board of Health, received a telegram from Gen. Walter Wyman, chief of the marine service at Washigton [sic], stating that the government would disinfect the mails at all points designated by the Indiana Board of Health. The telegram received was in reply to a message sent by Dr. Hurty to the authorities at Washington, informing them that the postmaster at Lesterville had smallpox and was continuing in the performance of his duties, with an utter disregard of the fact that he might be spreading the contagion all over the United States.

Yesterday reports were brought in from Washington county by Dr. Ferguson, who was sent to investigate rumors of smallpox. He says that the disease is prevailing to an alarming extent and he earnestly advised Dr. Hurty to establish a rigid quarantine. The authorizes at Clay City advised the State Board of Health yesterday morning that many of the citizens of the town were escaping to other towns despite the strict measures of quarantine in force. Dr. Hurty immediately telephoned Dr. Davis, the president of the board at Richmond, advising him of the situation and asking that a meeting of the board be called.

In speaking of a communication in one of the afternoon papers from the citizens of Clay City in which they express themselves as being highly indignant of Dr. Hurty for causing such excitement throught the State over the smallpox situation, when in reality the disease is very mild, resulting in no fatalies, Dr. Hurty said that is was not the policy of the State Board of Health to wait for fatalities before taking action, and the citizens of Clay City would have to abide by the action of the board.

Cases of Smallpox Reported.
Special to the Indianapolis Journal.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind., Jan. 17. – Several cases of what is believed to be the same disease, thought to have been chicken-pox at Clay City, but declared by Dr. Hurty to be smallpox, have been reported north of town. The persons afflicted came from Clay City, and the symptoms of their disease are the same as in the hundred or more cases reported at Clay City.

Clay City Is Not Excited.
To the Editor of the Indianapolis Journal

An undue amount of excitement has been caused by the published reports concerning the prevalence of smallpox at this place. The News of yesterday says: “Residents of the town are almost panic-stricken, but the quarantine prevents them from escaping.” It also states that the population of the town in 700, and that the disease had attacked nearly a third of the population. There has been no excitement here. There has been no quarantine, and people have not tried to escape. There have been between 200 and 300 cases, beginning with the early part of the fall. The physicians have treated for chickenpox and cured every case. We have a population of about 2,500, instead of 700. Many of the patients never went to bed or even quit work.

The Journal’s informant was in error when he stated that “when the citizens of the town became aware that the disease had been diagnosed as smallpox, they became frantic with fear and excitement, and many rushed home and began packing their effects, with the intention of escaping from the town but they were too late. Acting under the instructions of Dr. Hurty the officials immediately began the enforcement of the quarantine laws and no citizen who had come in contact with the disease was permitted to leave.” The utmost freedom prevails as to the coming and going of our citizens – no person being denied the privilege of going where he pleases. No one has heard of any person attempting to get away on account of Dr. Hurty’s announcement. The disease, whatever it is, is not half so severe as many cases of vaccination. There have been no fatalities from the disease.

A great injustice has been done our town by these exaggerated statements, and in order that the public may know the true condition of affairs your informant offers the above correction, without denying any official statement by Dr. Hurty. Our physicians report no cases of the confluent form.
Clay City, Ind., Jan. 15

“Will Disinfect Mails,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 18 January 1900, p. 4, col. 7; digital image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).

Smallpox Epidemic, Part II

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-17 (Smallpox epidemic)ARE HUNDREDS OF CASES

Dr. Hurty, State Health Offi-
cer, Returns From Clay City

Nine Children in One Family with
Smallpox-The Disease Has Spread
to Several Counties.

Dr. Hurty, of the State Board of Health, returned from Clay City, the hotbed of the smallpox epidemic, yesterday, and reports a most alarming state of affairs. He said that there were hundreds of cases, and many of them were of the confluent form, which is exceedingly dangerous. Said he: “It is a common sight to see little children walking along the streets of Clay City with their faces broken out with the eruptive sores of smallpox.”

Smallpox is everywhere in Clay City. It one turns to the right he is confronted with a whole row of houses in every one of which there are to be found one or more cases of fully developed smallpox. The same conditions prevail on every side and Dr. Hurty said that in one instance he found nine children in one family who were smitten with the disease at the same time.

The family referred to is that of George Burkhart, a veteran of the civil war. In speaking of these cases Dr. Hurty said that the fact that  Burkhart, who was vaccinated during the war, did not have the disease was very good evidence that the epidemic was really smallpox. Two of the Burkhart children, Blanche and Mona, have the confluent form of smallpox and it is a very grave question as to their recovery.

Under a misapprehension of the nature of the disease the public schools were continued until nearly two-thirds of the children were inoculated, and it was a common sight to see the little ones going daily to their lessons with their faces broken out with smallpox in the pustular stage. The young, however, are not the only ones who are attacked with the dreadful scourge, for even in the churches there were seen scores of adults whose faces were solid masses of oozing poison. The only excuse to be offered for this apparent criminal neglect on the part of the local board of health is the fact that it was advised by physicians diagnosing the disease that it was nothing more than chickenpox and as a consequence its apprehensions were not aroused until informed by Dr. Hurty of the real nature of the disease. When the Town Council awoke to the fact that the epidemic was really smallpox, the members immediately arranged for a called meeting at which they passed resolutions instructing the health officer to do all he could to prevent the further spread of the disease, and authorizing him to appoint as many deputies as he saw fit, necessary to the preservation of the strictest quarantine. Many new cases of the disease are reported from the district schools in the neighborhood of Clay City and the disease is rapidly spreading throughout the county.

Just prior to Dr. Hurty’s return he was summoned to a meeting of the County Council and he urged upon the members the necessity of doing all they could to stamp out the disease, advising them to instruct the county health officer, by deputies, to inspect all the schools, give free vaccination and quarantine every person who had come in contact with the disease. One of the peculiarities of the disease is its rapid spread, and there is some fear that is may become epidemic throughout the State. Smallpox is reported in Clay, Noble, Jackson, Owen, Green and Scott counties, and unless rigid enforcement of the quarantine law is observed the disease is likely to get beyond control. While Dr. Hurty was in Clay City, Dr. C. E. Ferguson, the diagnostician of the city of Indianapolis, was summoned to Brownstown, Jackson county, where he found a well-developed case of smallpox in the eruptive state. When Dr. Ferguson returned from Brownstown he found a telegram awaiting him from Dr. Hurty bidding him hasten to Scottsburg. The local board of health of that place wired the State Board of Health that it was in urgent need of aid. Dr. Hurty said on his arrival yesterday that he was somewhat at a loss to understand the urgency of the request from Scottsburg, but supposed the disease must be raging in that neighborhood.

The first person known to have the disease in Clay City was Herbert Wiltse, who two weeks after returning home from a street fair in Washington, Daviess county, was taken very sick and afterward went through all the stages of smallpox. His neighbors, believing that he had chickenpox, did not hesitate to visit him and in their manner the disease has been spread all over the country.

“Are Hundreds of Cases,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 17 January 1900, p. 8, col. 6; digitial image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).