Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dycusburg Doctor Contributes to Board of Health Report (1902-1903)

Biennial Report of the State Board of Health (1902-1903)

Crittenden County Board of Health: T. A. Frazer, M. D., Marion, Jno. W. Blue, Esq., Marion, T. L. Phillips, M. D. Dycusburg, W. T. Daugh, M. D., Marion, E E. Newcomb M. D., Repton.

MARION, KY., August 8, 1903.

To the State Board of Health:
Gentlemen—Supplementing our report of July 16, 1901, for the preceding four years during the two years last past, we have had two outbreaks of smallpox in the following districts or precincts: November, 1901, Marion and vicinity; March, 1903, Repton, Mattoon and Rodney, with the total of 102 cases and no deaths.

We have no eruptive hospital. Our method of management was as follows: In all cases we quarantined the parties infected, and the parties exposed, in their own homes.

The disease was brought to this county in several outbreaks from Evansville, Ind. In 1903 it was brought from southeast Missouri. It was recognized after twenty-five persons had been exposed altogether.

In July, 1901, 2,000 persons or 12.5 percent, of our population were protected by vaccination; since that time I estimate that 4,000 persons have been vaccinated, making a total of 6,000 persons now protected by vaccination, out of a total population of 16,000, leaving 10,000, or 37.5 per cent, now unvaccinated.

The total cost of managing the smallpox in the county, including hospital, physicians, vaccination, guards, nurses, food, etc., for all the cases which have occurred since my report in 1901, has been $850. The estimated cost to the county in loss of trade and interference with business has been $5,000.

The chief difficulties in stamping out the disease have been to convince the people that it was smallpox, and to enforce vaccination. The health officer in this county does not receive an annual salary. The subject has been brought before the fiscal court and they now have the matter under consideration.

The following number of cases of epidemic diseases have occurred in the county in the past two years other than smallpox: Twenty-five cases of diphtheria, with about six deaths; nine cases of scarlet fever in July, 1903, no deaths.

I estimate that 140 cases of typhoid fever have occurred in the county within the last two years with thirty-one deaths. The chief cause has been polluted drinking water and improper sanitation. The average cost of typhoid fever per case in this county is about $150.

I supplement the following additional facts which will be of general interest in this report. The chief difficulty of health officers is the lack of funds and the ignorance of the people regarding sanitation; and the thing most needed is to get the fiscal court to realize that money expended to improve sanitary conditions is a good investment.

Very respectfully,
T. ATCHISON FRAZER, M. D., Secretary

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