« السابقةمتابعة »
addition of more mineral, put together by subtle affinities, and then, as if tired of its achievement, allows the building to resolve itself back into primal substances. This principle is called life. It varies from insensible existences to those endowed with the highest sensibility, and the dissolution of its manifestation is as certain as its organization. Perhaps this is the greatest characteristic of life, and its most marked difference from the mineral, that it manifests itself for a nearly definite length of time and then goes out. Thus each different kind of animal or plant has its average length of life. If the animal dies before this age is reached, there is some cause for it, as definite and as fixed as a chemical reaction. Certainly life of its own accord has no desire to depart before its allotted time ; but if the organization with which it is concerned is destroyed, it is driven from the citadel. Minerals have a beginning and ending of existence. Life also has both, but liability to disease is added.
What is disease? Life, existing in connection with the mineral and manifesting itself through it, maintains a struggle for existence with the elements. If the powers of the mineral can be controlled, health and life continue ; if they cannot be controlled, disorganization and death ensue. Just as when elements of greater affinity present themselves, there is a change in the purely mineral compound; so in the organic, the presentation of greater affinities induces change and the mineral passes from the control of life. Add to this contest another, that life preys upon life, and the conditions favorable to any individual life are greatly diminished.
Disease, then, on the one hand, is hardly more than a chemical reaction unfavorable to the organization of the body within which it occurs; and on the other, hardly more than the overwhelming ravages of parasites or the irresistible attack of beasts. The action of poison illustrates the first ; typhoid fever is a type of the second. The antidote to poisons is a medicine; the medicine for zymotic diseases is a germicide.
Where do poisons have their effect mostly? In the blood. The life is in the blood. Introduce a poison into that fluid ; its constituents are decomposed. Solution always facilitates chemical reaction. The vital force also attains its ends through the solubility of the substances which it appropriates. Tons of poison may be about us and come in contact with us; if it does not enter the blood it is harmless.
The universal solvent is water. No fluid penetrates the system more readily than water; consequently there is no more ready vehicle for poisons than water. No fluid constitutes so large a part of the whole organization as water; consequently nothing else furnishes means for so general attack on all sides and in every part.
But what is poison ? According to the view of disease presented above, it is anything devoid of vitality which, acting through its affinities, destroys, or tends to destroy, any specific kind of life. It seems to be almost an aphorism, that as life begets life, so death begets death. Putrefying substances generate poisons. Some of them have been learned ; many of them are unknown. The virulency of poisons depends quite as much upon how they are administered as upon their quantity or intrinsic energy.
It is apparent that, theoretically, decaying organic matter in drinking-water not only poisons it, but commands the most efficient avenue to poison the drinker. The practical side of the question will be illustrated farther on. Disease germs find no more ready means of access to the system than through water. Forms of life, devoid of much power of locomotion, depend upon outside influences for conveyance; for them air and water are the universal highways. By currents of these they are carried for miles, or placed at once where temperature and nourishment are suitable for them. By these means the parasitic microbes or pathogenic germs enter the system, and the patient becomes not unlike a tree attacked by army worms.
We have thus passed, though imperfectly, from inanimate matter to its organization into dwellings for sensitive creatures, in order, if possible, that a more tangible, if not a more accurate knowledge may be had of how impure water may work its effect upon the system. Together with this, and with what may be presented farther on, we hope to emphasize the truth that the provision and preparation of water suitable for drinking purposes should be a task to concern us no less than the preparation of our food.
The following cases illustrate the kind of water which is productive of typhoid fever :
PARTIAL ANALYSIS OF WATER FOR H. C. ROWELL, BERLIN FALLS,
N. H., NOVEMBER 8, 1888. Odor, some foul; color, marked yellowish tint; evaporation, little foamy; residue, yellowish and some patches; residue darkens strongly on ignition ; chlorine, .9; free ammonia, .62; albuminoid ammonia, .176; nitric acid, some; little nitrous acid ; little sediment; large, active infusoria; fungi with spores ; some bacteria.
Opinion : This water is badly polluted.
The following information was subsequently obtained from Mr. Rowell :
“ No. 2 is spring water . . . This spring supplies a number of families, and among them there have been a number of cases of typhoid fever lately. No. 3 is well water ... There have been as many as eight cases of fever among the families who use this water.”
The analysis of sample No. 3 is as follows: Odor, some foul; color, marked yellow ; evaporation, some foamy; residue, yellow ish, some patches; residue blackens intensely on ignition; chlorine, .9; free ammonia, .416; albuminoid ammonia, .212; some nitric acid; some nitrous acid ; sediment, very little; some bacteria.
Opinion: This water is badly polluted.
SANITARY ANALYSIS OF WATER FOR J. FRANKLIN ROBINSON, M.
D., MANCHESTER, N. H., DECEMBER IO, 1888.
Odorless; color, brownish; evaporation, quiet; residue, uniform but yellowish; residue blackens strongly on ignition ; total solids, 4.5 grains; loss on ignition, 1.2; hardness, 2 degrees; alkalinity, 2 degrees; chlorine, -3; free ammonia, .09; albuminoid ammonia, .128; considerable nitric acid ; no nitrous acid; too much sediment; bacteria.
Opinion : This water is polluted.
Dr. Robinson gives the history of the case in the following letter :
MANCHESTER, N. H., Sept. 28, 1889. Prof. ANGELL :
Dear Sir,- Please pardon my long delay in answering your letter. I will now endeavor to give you an account of the Hodgman typhoid cases and will inclose a rough sketch of the relative positions of the buildings on his farm in Bedford. The house is on a hill on the north side of the road, six and a half miles from Manchester and about one half a mile west from the Nashua road. It is built of brick, is small, and has an L and shed of wood. The pump is in the L part and communicates with the well by a lead pipe. The barn is across the road and is quite large. A ledge comes to the surface of the road and slopes toward the barn.
The well is placed within eighteen feet of the barn and close to the road. The ground slopes from the barn to the well and toward a brook which is a few feet from the well, and which receives the drainage partly from the direction of the barn and partly from the opposite hillside. The barn cellar was very wet and filthy; several hogs wallowed about in the mire, which kept it in a semi-fluid state. The season had been very wet and the water stood in pools on all the low lands; everything was drenched.
The well had been in use for seventy-five years, according to the statement of one of the relatives, and I understood that it had never been cleaned out, but am not certain about that. Mr. Hodgman had been feeling unwell the most of the summer, got easily heated, and, according to his own statement and that of his family, he drank large quantities of well water. On the 6th of October, 1888, I was called to see him. Found him with a temperature of 103 4-5° Fahrenheit, pulse of 88, abdomen tympanitic. A few rose spots were present and he had the characteristic typhoid stools.
On October 14 he had a temperature of 105 3-5° Fahrenheit. After this his temperature gradually fell until Nov. 4, when it reached 99 3-5° Fahrenheit.
From October 30 to November 5 he improved rapidly; his tongue cleared up, the tympanites and tenderness of the bowels disappeared, his appetite was ravenous and he begged for solid food, which was not given him. His temperature on November 8 rose to 103 1-5° Fahrenheit, but fell the next day to 101 1-5° Fahrenheit, and on the 11th to 100 3-5° Fahrenheit. His pulse all this time was high, ranging from 116 to 136. On November 17 his temperature after rising to 102 3-5° Fahrenheit on November 13 had gradually dropped to 101 4-5° Fahrenheit, but it fell rapidly in the next two days and on November 19 was normal. It continued normal or subnormal until December 2, when it began to rise, being on December 3, 1or 4-5° Fahrenheit; on the 4th, 103° Fahr. enheit; on the 5th, 104 2-5° Fahrenheit; on the 6th he died.
During the period that his temperature was at normal or below, his pulse ranged from 116 to 132 and he was very delirious. He took large quantities of milk every day of his sickness, but he sank from nervous exhaustion, his death occurring on the sixty-eighth day of his illness. He was thoroughly saturated with the typhoid poison when he was first taken ill, for his seizure was violent, and the poison continued to enter his system through the well water which he drank.
On the first day that I saw him I examined the premises and told his brothers that the well water was undoubtedly the cause and that all the water from the well should be boiled before using, but that it would be better to obtain the ir drinking-water from some other well. They scouted the idea and refused to comply with my requests, and continued to use the water from this well without boiling and to give it to the patient in spite of my commands. The result was melancholy but sure. The husband died, his wife and two children and one of his brothers all came down with the fever; these latter cases all recovered.
It was during the latter part of the husband's sickness that I sent a sample of the well water to you, and the result of the analysis confirmed my statements. If there are any facts connected with the case which I have not mentioned and which you may wish to know, I shall be most happy to render them.
Very truly yours,
J. FRANKLIN ROBINSON.
SANITARY ANALYSIS OF WATER FOR IRVING DOW, NORTHWOOD
NARROWS, N. H., AUGUST 29, 1889. Odor, some; color, slightly yellowish ; evaporation, quiet ; residue, uniform but yellowish; residue scarcely changes color on ignition ; total solids, 4.4 grains; loss on ignition, 1.2; hardness, 2.3 degrees; alkalinity, 2 degrees; chlorine, .2; free ammonia, •398; albuminoid ammonia, .084; mere trace of nitric acid; no nitrous acid; iron, strong trace; some zinc; sediment; enormous quantity of ferric oxide.
Opinion : This water is polluted with vegetable matter.
The following information was given by Mr. Dow :
The well was dug about one year ago. It is at the foot of a hill near a brook, so that most of the year it is covered with water. The well was bricked up air tight, so if any brook water entered it must enter through the bricks. Water which comes from the hill enters the well at the bottom. A windmill forces