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).