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How Typhoid Fever is Spread

Nature volume 13, page 447 | Download Citation



THE case in which the poison of typhoid fever mixed with drinking water was transmitted through nearly a mile of porous earth, and which was mentioned in the abstract of my discourse to the Fellows of the Chemical Society (NATURE, vol. xiii., p. 331), is fully described (in German) in the 6th Report of the Rivers' Commission on the Domestic Water Supply of Great Britain. It will shortly appear, in English, in the Monthly Journal of the Chemical Society. Meanwhile perhaps I may be allowed to trespass upon your space with the following remarks:—The outbreak of typhoid fever occurred at the village of Lausen, near Basel, in Switzerland, and it was exhaustively investigated by Dr. A. Hägler of Basel, who has given a full account of it in the “Deutsches Archiv. f. Klin. Med. xi.” The source of the poison was traced to an isolated farmhouse on the opposite side of a mountain ridge, where an imported case of typhoid, followed ty two others, occurred shortly before the outbreak. A brook which ran past this house received the dejections of the patients and their linen was washed in it. This brook was employed for the irrigation of some meadows near the farm-house, and the effluent water filtered through the intervening mountain to a spring used in all the houses of Lausen, except six which were supplied with water from private wells. In these six houses no case of fever occurred, but scarcely one of the others escaped. No less than 130 people, or seventeen per cent, of the whole population, were attacked, besides fourteen children, who received the infection whilst at home for their holidays, and afterwards sickened on their return to school.

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