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Other investigations. Special studies and reports have been made from time to time upon matters submitted to the division:
(1) A method for the detection of small quantities of hydrocyanic-acid gas in the hold of a ship which has been fumigated has been developed.
(2) A special investigation has been made of the possibilities of a municipal pasteurizing plant for Tuscaloosa, Ala.
(3) Determinations of copper and zinc in oysters have been made. (4) A study of methods for the detection and measurement of small amounts of phenol, cresol, and other preservatives in serum has been made.
(5) A study of the chemical characteristics of certain specimens of glass bottles and flasks with reference to soluble alkali has been conducted.
Routine work of division.-The routine work of the division has comprised the chemical examinations of approximately 250 specimens of sewage for the field investigations; the examination of 12 specimens of drugs for compliance with the United States Pharmacopoeia requirements; 16 special examinations of various materials submitted by the bureau and others; the examination of 116 samples of Potomac River water for the superintendent of sewers, District of Columbia; the determination of hydrogen-ion concentration in specimens of media and serums; and the preparation of standard solutions and reagents for other disinfectants.
VIRUSES, SERUMS, TOXINS, AND ANALOGOUS PRODUCTS.
Enforcement of law.-In the enforcement of the law of July 1, 1902, regulating the sale of viruses, serums, etc., 46 inspections of establishments were made, the licenses of 21 establishments were renewed, and 2 new establishments were granted licenses for the first time. In 5 cases licenses were refused. In view of the fact that some establishments located in Germany had not been inspected within the time required by regulation and on account of present conditions would not be accessible to inspection for an indefinite period of time, the licenses of these establishments were revoked. Four other licenses were revoked, 2 were discontinued at the request of the concern licensed, and 2 were suspended. At the termination of the fiscal year 31 establishments (23 American and 8 foreign) were holding licenses. The complete list has been published in the Public Health reports of June 8, 1917, and also issued as Reprint No. 401.
A total of 5,506 samples of products were examined at the Hygienic Laboratory during the past fiscal year, as against 5,187 in 1916, 3,102 in 1915, and 1,113 in 1914.
Investigation of biologic products. Following the adoption of the sundry-civil act approved July 1, 1916, which provided a special fund for this work, the investigation of biologic products was given a much broader scope than had hitherto been possible. Four new positions were established in this section of the Division of Pathology and Bacteriology, Hygienic Laboratory, and equipment for the expansion was promptly installed.
The work on the standardization of typhoid vaccine has been continued with satisfactory results.
Studies in connection with the application of a manufacturer for a license for a vaccine against exanthematic typhus showed that cultures of the Gram positive diphtheroid which is believed by several workers to be the cause of typhus fever would not protect against the virus of Mexican typhus.
The standardization of antimeningococcus and antipneumococcus serum was taken up.
CONFERENCE WITH STATE AND TERRITORIAL HEALTH AUTHORITIES.
Owing to the entrance of the United States into the war, the date of the fifteenth annual conference of State and Territorial health authorities with the service was advanced from June 1 and 2 to April 30 and May 1. This was done in order that a clearer idea could be had of the effect on national health of the changed sanitary conditions arising out of the war and that a consensus of opinion could be arrived at as to the broad lines to be followed in meeting these changed situations and the relation of the State health authorities to them. Recommendations embodying the decisions of the conference in regard to these important matters were adopted and formed the basis for the cooperation which has been developed between the State health authorities and the service in the sanitation of cantonment surroundings and in other public-health work related to the conduct of the war.
In addition to the above, the conference discussed the following subjects, passing resolutions in regard to some of them: Present status of employment of full-time health officers; local health organization, especially in rural sections; the typhus-fever situation; morbidity statistics; and other important matters. Reports of committees were heard in regard to: Morbidity returns, sanitation of public conveyances, interstate and intrastate quarantine regulations, health insurance, standard methods of public health accounting, increasing efficiency of conferences, and rural sanitation.
The report of this conference, including the resolutions passed, will be published.
REPRESENTATION AT MEETINGS OF SCIENTIFIC AND SANITARY ASSOCIATIONS AND CONGRESSES.
As in the past, the service was represented by one or more officers at a large number of annual and other meetings of scientific or sanitary associations and congresses. In most cases the representatives read papers relating to public health, and in all acquired information of scientific or sanitary importance to the work of the service.
DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION.
In order that the results of investigations shall accomplish their purpose it is necessary to disseminate them through proper channels. Among the means taken to this end are: (1) Personal interviews with health authorities following particular studies within their jurisdictions, (2) publications, (3) other reports, (4) lectures, (5) press service, (6) exhibits, and (7) correspondence.
Interviews and conferences.-Inasmuch as many investigations are undertaken on the request of State and local authorities to meet an emergency, the results of investigations are frequently made known verbally as soon as obtained and advice given based on these data, so that remedial action may be immediately taken. Advantage is frequently taken also of situations to advise not only the health authorities but the mayors and councils of cities and, at times, the executives and legislative bodies of States.
Publications. Monographs on sanitary subjects are regularly issued in the weekly Public Health Reports, in reprints of these reports, and in special publications, such as Public Health bulletins and Hygienic Laboratory bulletins. In these publications a large number of the investigations considered above are reported, as will be seen by reference to the report on publications, page 324.
Other reports. In some cases reports of investigations are submitted to the authorities in typewritten form.
Lectures. In addition to papers read at meetings of scientific or sanitary associations, opportunity is taken of the presence of officers in the field to give popular addresses. By this means not only is information of local interest conveyed, but the activities of the Public Health Service are brought directly to the attention of the public generally. In some cases courses of lectures on public health have also been given by officers of the service.
Press service.-Brief abstracts of all publications issued have been furnished regularly to the Division of Domestic Quarantine for dissemination to the newspapers of the country.
Exhibits. Some of the results of scientific investigations have also been made public by the Division of Domestic Quarantine by means of exhibits and stereopticon slides.
Correspondence.-A large number of replies are made to letters requesting information of a hygienic or public health nature.
During the fiscal year ended June 30, 1917, service operations included, as in former years, the enforcement of the United States quarantine laws and regulations providing measures to be undertaken for the prevention of the introduction of the various quarantinable diseases. In addition to these duties, officers in charge of quarantine stations were charged with the supervision of the repair and preservation of stationary construction and floating equipment. At the various national quarantine stations on the mainland of the United States there were inspected 12,431 vessels and 709,770 passengers and crew. At foreign and insular ports service officers inspected 5,834 vessels and supervised the fumigation of 1,897 vessels. For the destruction of rats and mosquitoes on vessels at the mainland stations 1,150 ships were fumigated with cyanide gas and 1,646 vessels with sulphur dioxide. The grand total of passengers and crew inspected was 1,348,847 and of vessels fumigated, 4,693. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 1916, service officers inspected at all stations 17,318 vessels and fumigated 3,530 vessels, this being an increase in tranactions over the previous year of 947 vessels inspected and 1,163 vessels fumigated.
EXPANSION OF QUARANTINE ADMINISTRATION.
During the year a service officer was detailed as quarantine officer for the Virgin Islands, with station at St. Thomas.
The island of Cauit, in the harbor of Cebu, was set aside by Executive order as a national quarantine reservation under the control of the Secretary of the Treasury and the quarantine ground and anchorage formally prescribed by the Surgeon General with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury. Cauit Island has been the quarantine reservation at Cebu station since 1904, but before the issuance of the Executive order the title was under the insular government. Thus, the only two quarantine reservations in the Philippine Islands, Cauit and Mariveles, are now national quarantine reservations under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury.
The Executive order was as follows:
Designation of anchorage grounds at the quarantine station on Cauit Island, Cebu, Philippine Islands.
Whereas, by Executive order dated October 25, 1904, Luke E. Wright, civil governor of the Philippine Islands, set aside and reserved the island of Cauit, Province of Cebu, Philippine Islands, "for the use of the Quarantine Service
and the Marine Hospital Service," and said island is now used as a United States quarantine station; and
Whereas, the act of Congress approved August 29, 1916, provides that all the property and rights which may have been acquired in the Philippine Islands by the United States under the treaty of peace with Spain, except such land or other property as has been or shall be designated by the President of the United States for military and other reservations of the Government of the United States * * are hereby placed under the control of the Government of said islands to be administered or disposed of for the benefit of the inhabitants thereof.
I hereby designate, confirm, and set aside the island of Cauit, Province of Cebu, Philippine Islands, for use as a quarantine station under the Treasury Department of the United States.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
28 June, 1917.
Reedy Island quarantine station was reopened in May, 1917, as an inspection as well as detention station on account of war conditions necessitating the inspection of vessels by quarantine, naval, immigration, and customs officers at a point lower down the Delaware River than Marcus Hook. For the past three years quarantine inspection of vessels entering Philadelphia has been performed at Marcus Hook by service officers and Pennsylvania State officers conjointly, the Reedy Island station being maintained for detention purposes only.
The New York quarantine station is administered by a service officer appointed by the governor of New York for that purpose, but the station is under State control and the transfer to national control is still pending. The New York Legislature has signified its willingness to transfer the station to the Government in a joint resolution dated February 15, 1917. An appropriation for the purchase of the New York quarantine station, inserted in the sundry civil act of 1918, was favorably acted upon by the Senate, but was stricken out when that measure was considered in conference.
During the year rather comprehensive and adequately equipped quarantine stations, with disinfecting apparatus, were constructed at El Paso, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Brownsville, Rio Grande City, and Hidalgo. Formerly disinfecting plants on the Mexican side of the border were utilized where available and extemporized expedients were resorted to at other points. Altogether, such arrangements were unsatisfactory and left much to be desired in the way of effectiveness. The maintenance of service owned and controlled plants on American territory promised to meet the necessary requirements. The National Government now owns and operates 61 quarantine stations on the mainland of the United States. In the Philippine Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Porto Rico, and the Virgin Islands 26 stations are administered by officers of the United States Public Health Service. Of the total, 41 have detention facilities or floating equipment and 46 have facilities for the conduct of inspections only.
GENERAL PREVALENCE OF QUARANTINABLE DISEASE.
Plague, yellow fever, cholera, typhus, and smallpox have prevailed in countries having intimate commercial and traffic relations with the United States, and each of these infections has constituted a potential menace to the sanitary condition of this country.