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Incidentally it has been estimated by the fire marshal, that as a result of rat-proofing operations, the number of fires during the past two years has been reduced, as compared with preceding years.

GENERAL ORGANIZATION.

The general plan of organization during the past fiscal year has remained practically unchanged. Owing, however, to increasing numbers of buildings becoming rat proofed and to the general efficiency of the employees the working force has been materially reduced in numbers and in several instances districts have been merged. On July 1, 1916, the total number of employees was 304, and on July 1, 1917, the total number was 197. Districts Nos. 1 and 3 and Algiers have been merged into one district and placed in charge of a single officer. Districts Nos. 4 and 5 have likewise been merged. This leaves the city divided into four more or less equal parts, each division being in charge of a separate officer. Rat proofing in St. Bernard Parish, including the towns of Chalmette, and Arabi, has continued under the supervision of the officer in charge of district No. 5. As yet no ratproofing operations have been undertaken in the towns of McDonoghville, Harvey, Gretna, Amesville, or Westwego, these towns being contiguous to Algiers and across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

During the year the work of plague eradication has been under the direction of Passed Asst. Surg. Friench Simpson, assisted at various times by the following officers: Passed Asst. Surgs. C. L. Williams, J. H. Smith, jr., and J. B. Laughlin; Asst. Surgs. H. C. Cody, C. V. Akin, M. S. Lombard, W. C. Teufel, R. R. Sayers, W. F. Wagenbach, and R. E. Dyer; Acting Asst. Surgs. M. D. Hollis, G. McG. Stewart, Park Howell, and Percy Ahrons.

LEGAL ENACTMENTS.

Regarding court procedures there is nothing of special importance to note. Ordinance No. 2512, commission council series, under which plague operations have been conducted, remains in force and during the past year apparently all disputes as to its legality have ceased. There were filed during the year 4,226 affidavits for failure to rat proof premises. Of this number 2,146 were either acquitted or withdrawn before trial on account of completion of the work; 1,596 are still pending owing to work being in progress, some work having been done, or the case not having been called into court; 346 cases were convicted, and of this number 138 appealed to a higher court. The total fines paid in for failure to rat proof amounted to $2,410. Compared with the preceding year there has been a great increase in the amount of fines imposed, the total in 1915-16 amounting to only $805.

OUTGOING QUARANTINE.

There has been no cessation in quarantine procedures as applied to ships docking at the wharves in New Orleans. As described in previous reports it is necessary that all ships be properly fended off and rat guarded and those vessels which have not been fumigated

within the preceding four-month period are required to undergo fumigation, in lieu of which they are given a foul bill of health. The fumigant now in general use for the deratization of vessels is hydrocyanic acid gas, the generation of which is described in the annual report for 1915, no change in this procedure having been made. It is desired to call attention to the fact that during the past year no difficulties have been encountered incident to the handling of hydrocyanic acid gas, either among the crews of vessels fumigated or those conducting the fumigation.

A departure of note is to be found in a recent ruling that ships docking at so-called rat-proofed wharves need not resort to fending off or rat guarding. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1916, a marked difference was found in the number of rats caught on ratproofed and those on nonrat-proofed wharves. This finding has been amply confirmed throughout the past year, an example of which is the following: From the Julia Street wharf, which is rat-proofed, 10 rats were caught between the period of October 1, 1916, and July 1, 1917. From the Erato Street Wharf, which is separated from the latter by the St. Joseph Street Wharf, during the same period of time 367 rats were caught. With these facts in mind and believing that the owners of the wharves and the steamships should derive some benefit from their labors in attempting to reduce the rodent population, the matter was brought to the attention of the commission council with a recommendation that a law be passed relieving steamships docking at these rat-proofed wharves from fending off or rat guarding. This was acted upon favorably and the law was passed.

After fumigation a careful search is always made of all vessels for dead rats. These are collected and sent to the laboratory where they are subjected to the same routine examination as all other rodents trapped.

The following table gives in detail the routine quarantine operations during the past year:

Outgoing quarantine, July 1, 1916, to July 1, 1917.

Number of ships clearing

Number of bills of health issued to ships clearing.

Clean bills of health issued.

Foul bills of health issued__.

Approximate tonnage clearing from port__

Local boats (mostly intrastate) fumigated and given certificates____
Approximate tonnage of such boats_____

Fumigation.

Number of ships fumigated with hydrocyanic acid gas_

Number of ships fumigated with sulphur dioxide_____

Total fumigations....

Pounds sodium cyanide used_

Pints sulphuric acid used_.

Pounds sulphur used..

LABORATORY.

661

1, 934

1, 792 142

1, 335, 000

81 3, 929

681 81

762

37, 811

56, 797

3, 390

The general routine of laboratory procedure has remained practically the same as during the preceding years and no efforts have been spared to detect any case of rodent plague. As heretofore, the

macroscopic method of diagnosis is given first place and this is supplemented by a biological and microscopic examination in all suspected cases. The total number of rodents received during the past year was 387,732. Of this number 77,071 were examined, 42 of which were proven positive for plague. In connection with the laboratory report the following facts should be noted:

There was a decrease in the actual number of infected rodents as compared with the preceding year.

The number of rodents suspected of having plague was markedly lessened.

The number of rats showing well-marked signs of plague was smaller proportionately than the preceding year.

The number of rats showing indefinite signs of plague was proportionately large.

Following plague inoculations a longer time proportionately was required to kill experimental animals.

Typical cultures have been correspondingly harder to secure.
There have been no infected mice.

The flea count per rat examined was greatly reduced as compared with the preceding year.

Referring to the decrease in the proportionate number of rats showing well-marked signs of plague and the greater length of time required to kill experimental animals, it is inferred that this condition is the result of either one of two conditions or both, namely: A decrease in the virulence of the infecting organism or a greater resistance on the part of the rodent.

The following tables give in detail all laboratory operations during the past year:

Number of animals examined during the year ending June 30, 1917____
Number of animals examined during the year ending June 30,
1917, by sex and species, as follows:

77, 071

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387, 732

Number of animals received during the year ending June 30, 1917Number of animals received during the year ending June 30, 1917, by species:

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Inguinal only.

Multiple
Any type..

Granular liver_
Granular spleen
Pleural effusion_
Abscess of liver.

Necrosis of liver_.
Abscess of spleen_.

Adhesions of spleen.

Scars on spleen_-_

Ruptured spleen_-_

No lesions (plague-like organisms in smears only sign).

No lesions (animals inoculated because rat was caught at infected location).

42

30

3

1

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Comparative figures of rats showing well-marked macroscopic signs of plague; rats showing slight or indistinct signs; rats showing no macroscopic signs but with plague-like organisms in smears and rats showing signs of resolving plague:

Infected rats showing well-marked signs_

Infected rats showing slight or indistinct signs_.

Infected rats showing no signs---.

Infected rats picked out on smears only..

Infected rats showing signs of resolving plague..

Total number of infected rats..

Total number of rats not showing marked signs of plague_-_

Flea infestation of rats.

8

21

42

34

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