Tag Archives: Governor James A. Mount

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 I

Indianapolis Journal - 1900-01-16 (Smallpox epidemic)IN AN EPIDEMIC FORM

Smallpox Has Broken Out At And
Near Clay City, Ind.

Secretary Hurty Telegraphs Governor
Mount of the Conditions – Con-
fluent Smallpox

Smallpox is raging in epidemic form in Clay City, a small mining town in Clay county. The town has a population of six or seven hundred and it is estimated that over one-third of it is stricken with the disease. Many of the cases have assumed the confluent form. Dr. J. N. Hurty, the secretary of the State Board of Health, at present in Clay City, has telegraphed the boards of health of the adjoining counties warning them of the prevalence of the disease, and everything possible is being done to prevent its spread.

A few days ago an epidemic resembling smallpox appeared in Clay City, but as the disease was very mild the local physicians believed it to be a malignant form of chicken-pox and the patients were treated accordingly. The disease, however, began to spread very rapidly and it was not long until it was estimated that there were in the neighborhood of three hundred cases. The local board of health in Clay City became alarmed and telegraphed for Dr. Hurty, who is an expert in diagnosing the disease. After an examination of the first patient with whom he came in contact, Dr. Hurty at once pronounced the disease to be smallpox. 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. All incoming and outgoing mails are being disinfected and nothing that would be likely to transmit the disease is allowed to be shipped away from the town. It is said that there are many cases in Owen county just over the line from Clay county, which have probably been contracted by exposure to the disease in Clay City. Greene county also reports a great many cases of so-called chicken-pox, but the cases have exactly the same symptoms as those in Clay county.

The boards of health of the various adjoining counties will hold meeting to-day and take some definite action to prevent the disease from spreading.

At various time chicken-pox has been reported to the State Board of Health, but each time there has always been a diversity of opinion among the physicians as to the diagnosis of the disease, some insisting that it was a mild form of smallpox and others maintaining that it was nothing but chicken-pox. Previous to the present epidemic in Clay City there had been no fatalities in any cases reported and very few of them had even been serious, so that a reasonable doubt might have arisen as to the correct diagnosis of the case. The confluent form of the disease in the epidemic at Clay City which often results fatally, removes the least shadow of a doubt that might exist that the disease is smallpox.

Last night Dr. Hurty telegraphed Governor Mount, notifying him of the conditions at Clay City.

City Board Will Act.

Dr. Clark, of the City Board of Health, was asked last night what precautions the Indianapolis Board of Health will take to prevent any possibility of the disease becoming prevalent in this city. He answered that if the epidemic in Clay county was as serious as Dr. Hurty reported the board will hold a meeting to-day to devise plans to prevent anyone entering the city who might have come in contact with the disease there, and also to take up the question of what would be done with the patients providing smallpox should break out in the city. He added, however, that Dr. Hurty no doubt will take all necessary precautions to prevent the disease from spreading further than the locality to which it is now confined.

“In An Epidemic Form,” The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Indiana), 16 January 1900, p. 8, col. 4; digitial image, Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 6 December 2014).