Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

beginning like marsh fevers and terminating like inflammatory fevers, or diseases of the chest. Dr. George Farr testified that rheumatism and tic-doloreux were very common among the ladies who live at the Woolwich Arsenal, near the Thames marshes. Some of these cases were quite incurable, until the patients removed to a purer atmosphere. W. H. Gall, M. D., thought that the extent to which malaria affected the health of London, must of course be very much a theoretical question; “but it is very remark“able that diseases which are not distinctly miasmatic, do “ become much more severe in a miasmatic district. In“fluenzas, which prevailed in England in 1847, were very “much more fatal in London and the surrounding parts “ than they were in the country generally, and influenza “and ague poisons are very nearly allied in their effects. “Marsh miasms are conveyed, no doubt, a considerable “distance. Sufficiently authentic cases are recorded to “show that the influence of marsh miasm extends several “miles.” Other physicians testify to the fact, that near the Thames marshes, the prevalent diseases are all of them of an aguish type, intermittent and remittent, and that they are accompanied with much dysentery. Dr. John Manly said that, when he first went to Barking, he found a great deal of ague, but since the draining, in a population of ten thousand, there are not half-a-dozen cases annually and but very little remittent. The following Extract is taken from the testimony of Sir Culling Eardly, Bart.: “Chairman:-I believe you reside at Belvidere, in the “parish of Erith ?—Yes.-Ch.: Close to these marshes? “—Yes.—Ch.: Can you speak from your own knowledge, “of the state of these marshes, with regard to public “health ?—Sir C.: I can speak of some of the results “which have been produced in the neighborhood, from the “condition of the marshes; the neighborhood is in one

“continual state of ague. My own house is protected, from “the height of its position, and a gentleman's house is less “liable to the influence of malaria than the houses of the “lower classes. But even in my house we are liable to “ague; and to show the extraordinary manner in which “the ague operates, in the basement story of this house “where my men-servants sleep, we have more than once “had bad ague. In the attics of my house, where my “maid-servants sleep, we have never had it. Persons are “deterred from settling in the neighborhood by the aga“ish character of the country. Many persons, attracted “by the beauty of the locality, wish to come down and “settle; but when they find the liability to ague, they “are compelled to give up their intention. I may mention “that the village of Erith itself, bears marks of the influ“ence of malaria. It is more like one of the desolate “towns of Italy, Ferrara, for instance, than a healthy, “happy, English village. I do not know whether it is “known to the committee, that Erith is the village describ“ed in Dickens' Household Words, as Dumble-down“deary, and that it is a most graphic and correct descrip“tion of the state of the place, attributable to the unhealthy “character of the locality.” He also stated that the ague is not confined to the marshes, but extends to the high lands near them.

The General Board of Health, of England, at the close of a voluminous report, publish the following “Conclusions “as to the Drainage of Suburban Lands:–

“1. Excess of moisture, even on lands not evidently wet, “is a cause of fogs and damps.

“2. Dampness serves as a medium for the conveyance of “any decomposing matter that may be evolved, and adds “to the injurious effects of such matters in the air:-in “other words the excess of moisture may be said to increase “or aggravate atmospheric impurities.

“3. The evaporation of the surplus moisture lowers the “temperature, produces chills, and creates or aggravates “the sudden and injurious changes or fluctuations by “which health is injured.” In view of the foregoing opinions as to the cause of malaria, and of the evidence as to the effect of draining in removing the unhealthy condition in which those causes originate, it is not too much to say that, in addition to the capital effect of draining on the productive capacity of the land,-the most beneficial sanitary results may be confidently expected from the extension of the practice, especially in such localities as are now unsafe, or at least undesirable for residence. In proportion to the completeness and efficiency of the means for the removal of surplus water from the soil:—in proportion, that is, to the degree in which the improved tile drainage described in these pages is adopted,—will be the completeness of the removal of the causes of disease. So far as the drying of malarious lands is concerned, it is only necessary to construct drains in precisely the same manner as for agricultural improvement. The removal of the waste of houses, and of other filth, will be considered in the next chapter.

CHAPTER XI.

HOUSE DRAINAGE AND TOWN SEWERAGE IN THEIR RELATIONS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH.

The following is extracted from a report made by the General Board of Health to the British Parliament, concerning the administration of the Public Health Act and the Nuisances Removal and Diseases Prevention Acts from 1848 to 1854.

“Where instances have been favorable for definite ob“servation, as in broad blocks of buildings, the effects of “sanitary improvement have been already manifested to an “extent greater than could have been anticipated, and than “can be readily credited by those who have not paid atten“tion to the subject.

“In one favorable instance, that of between 600 and 700 “persons of the working class in the metropolis, during a “period of three years, the average rate of mortality has

“been reduced to between 13 and 14 in 1000. In another

“instance, for a shorter period, among 500 persons, the

“mortality has been reduced as low as even 7 in 1000.

“The average rate of mortality for the whole metropolis

“being 23 in 1000. “In another instance, the abolishing of cess-pools and

“their replacement by water-closets, together with the

“abolishing of brick drains and their replacement by im“permeable and self-cleansing stone-ware pipes, has been “attended with an immediate and extraordinary reduction “of mortality. Thus, in Lambeth Square, occupied by a “superior class of operatives, in the receipt of high wages, “the deaths, which in ordinary times were above the gen“eral average, or more than 30 in 1000, had risen to a rate “of 55 in 1000. By the abolishing of cess-pools, which “were within the houses, and the substitution of water“closets, and with the introduction of tubular, self-cleansing “house-drains, the mortality has been reduced to 13 in 1000. “The reduction of the mortality was effected precisely “among the same occupants, without any change in their “ habits whatever.” “Sewers are less important than the House-Drains and “Water-Closets, and if not carrying much water, may be“come cess-pools. In the case of the Square just referred “to, when cess-pools and drains of deposit were removed “without any alteration whatever in the adjacent sewers, “fevers disappeared from house to house, as these recep“tacles were filled up, and the water closet apparatus sub“stituted, merely in consequence of the removal of the de“composing matter from beneath the houses to a distant “sewer of deposit or open water course. “If the mortality were at the same rate as in the model “dwellings, or in the improved dwellings in Lambeth “Square, the annual deaths for the whole of the metropolis “would be 25,000 less, and for the whole of England and “Wales 170,000 less than the actual deaths. “If the reduced rate of mortality in these dwellings “should continue, and there appears to be no reason to “suppose that it will not, the extension to all towns which “have been affected, of the improvements which have been “applied in these buildings, would raise the average age

“at death to about forty-eight instead of twenty-nine, the

“present average age at death of the inhabitants of towns “in all England and Wales.”

« AnteriorContinuar »