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There has been no increase during the past year in the number, location, or size of the cemeteries of this District. At the close of the fiscal year the municipal crematorium was approaching completion. It promises to reduce materially the amount of land that is necessary for the public burial ground, since after the crematorium is in operation bodies will be interred only of those on whose behalf objection is raised to cremation.
It is sincerely hoped that something may soon be done to relax the restrictions which now exist with respect to caring for and disposing of the dead. Ten years' experience under existing law has shown that the limitations that it imposes with respect to such matters are unnecessarily severe, and public interests will be served, it is believed, by modifying them. "Legislation toward this end is now pending in Congress.
The total number of bodies buried in the District of Columbia during the calendar year 1907 was 5,727, exclusive of the remains of stillbirths, the decedents in 5,260 cases having died in the District of Columbia and in 467 cases having died elsewhere. There were cremated in the District of Columbia during the year the remains of 41 local decedents and of 9 decedents from other jurisdictions; in all, 50.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASES OF ANIMALS.
Rabies.-Rabies has been more than usually prevalent in the District of Columbia during the fiscal year covered by this report. Ninety-nine dogs were reported as having shown clinical symptoms of rabies, and through the courtesy of the Bureau of Animal Industry their remains have in nearly all instances been examined to determine beyond question whether rabies did or did not exist. In 68 instances the diagnosis was confirmed by the post-mortem findings. Because of the number of rabid dogs coming to the attention of the health department, the commissioners on January 15, 1908, declared an emergency to exist and authorized the health officer to put into service an additional pound wagon, the cost thereof to be paid from the emergency fund. The following table shows the results that were accomplished by the wagon so employed:
Statement showing comparative results of the operations of the pound service during the
period between February 1° and June 15, inclusive, 1908, when an extra pound wagon was employed and the cost thereof paid out of the emergency fund, and the corresponding period of 1907, when no such wagon was employed.
106 1,049 $264.75
363 2,332 $844. 50
257 1,283 $579.75
Later, on June 16, 1908, the commissioners issued a proclamation requiring all dogs running at large during the six months next ensuing to be securely muzzled, and on June 18, 1908, authorized the employment of two additional pound wagons. In view, however, of the difficulty of impounding dogs except during the hours of daylight, and of the difficulty of impounding them at all in the suburbs, where they find easy escape under fences which the pound men can not
pass, and in view of the limited amount of work that can be accomplished by the use of three or even more pound wagons, the commissioners, on June 25, 1908, amended the police regulations so as to provide more effectually for the cooperation of the police by making it unlawful for any person owning or having in custody a dog to permit it during any period covered by a muzzling proclamation to go at large without a good substantial muzzle, securely put on, so as to prevent it from biting or snapping. The fiscal year closed too soon after the adoption of the measure to justify a statement in this report as to the results thereof.a
Glanders.—Three horses suffering from glanders were discovered and killed during the fiscal year.
There were examined in the chemical laboratory during the fiscal year just ended 5,627 samples, of which 4,652 were milk, 381 cream, and 24 skimmed milk. The results of these analyses are shown in the report of the chemist, printed in the appendix. Thirty-seven samples of various substances were examined for the police department and two for the coroner.
Food and drugs act, February 17, 1898.-On June 3, 1908, the validity of the act of February 17,1898, an act relating to the adulteration of foods and drugs in the District of Columbia, was called into question in the police court in a prosecution in which the defendant was charged under that act with having sold adulterated milk. The court decided that the act named had been repealed by the federal pure-food law, commonly known as the food and drugs act, June 30, 1906, and therefore held the defendant not guilty. An appeal was taken by the District of Columbia for the purpose of having the case reviewed by the court of appeals.a
a The following table, forming properly a part of the next annual report, shows the results accomplished during the muzzling period: Statement showing comparative results of the work done by the pound service during the six months ended December 16, 1908, when a muzzling proclamation was in force, and during the corresponding period of 1907, when no muzzling order was in forcé.
4,355 3, 340 1,015 1,169 $2,338
15 13 $26
Wrapping of bread. --With a view to requiring the wrapping of bread before sale and immediately after it left the oven, so as to have it delivered in a cleanly manner, the department undertook during the past year to investigate the effect of such wrapping upon wholesomeness and keeping qualities. In view of prevailing uncleanly methods of handling bread and of the complaints received from time to time with respect thereto, the health department announced through the local press that it was considering the advisability of recommending to the commissioners the promulgation of a regulation requiring all bread to be wrapped before delivery. The result was that the owners of the largest bakeries in the district promptly represented to the health officer that the wrapping of the bread before delivery was impracticable, inasmuch as, among other things, it would spoil texture and flavor, and because prospective purchasers would be unable to determine the color and firmness of the crust. In order to determine what weight should be given to the argument based upon alleged interference with texture and flavor, arrangements were made to obtain bread directly from the ovens of certain bakeries. Four loaves were obtained each time, as they came from the oven, one of which was kept unwrapped, while each of the three others was at once wrapped, each in a paper of different texture, and after a reasonable length of time these loaves were examined by the chemist. In all twenty-four loaves were examined, with, in the language of the chemist, the following results:
Nothing was discovered in this examination which would demonstrate the impracticability of wrapping bread in unsized paper previous to its delivery by the bakeries. On the contrary, such bread was found to be in much better condition at the end of twenty-four hours than the unwrapped bread, and in equally as good condition as the fresh loaves.
The details of these experiments appear in the report of the chemist printed elsewhere in this volume.
The results of the investigation made by the department into the wrapping of bread having been made public, representatives of the baking establishments, or of some of them, who had earlier alleged that bread could not be wrapped before delivery without spoiling it, again called at the health department. The result of this conference, however, was the statement that if they were required to wrap all bread before delivery it would be necessary to advance the price 1 cent per loaf in order to prevent loss. As it was not in the power of the health officer or the commissioners to prevent this increase in price, and because of unwillingness to be responsible for such an increase in the cost of one of the necessaries of life, the
a on December 1, 1908, the court of appeals, in District of Columbia v. Burns, held that the defendant in the case having been acquitted in the police court, the case presented was not properly before the court of appeals. The court of appeals said, however, that it seemed probable that the police court had taken an erroneous view of the law.
health officer has not recommended the promulgation of the proposed ordinance. A public statement was made, however, to the effect that the investigation made by the health department showed that any baker who desired to deliver his bread wrapped was able to do so, and that persons desiring to obtain their bread delivered under cover could probably arrange with their bakers to deliver bread in that way, provided they were willing to pay the demands of the baker for the service. There the matter rests.
Well water.—The examination of samples of water from such of our public wells as of necessity remain open, and of samples of water from wells connected with our public schools, shows the necessity of obtaining as early as possible an appropriation for replacing all shallow wells of this class by properly constructed deep wells. And the examination of water from wells on dairy farms shows the need for better knowledge with respect to the location and construction of wells among those who of necessity must depend upon such sources for their water supply. Such work, as well as the work of the department toward the protection of the milk supply, has demonstrated forcibly the need for a properly equipped general bacteriological laboratory.
The recently enacted law for the prevention of tuberculosis requires the health department to examine sputa from persons suspected of having the pulmonary or the laryngeal form of that disease, and has thus rendered necessary an increase in the department's equipment for bacteriological work. The growing recognition of the importance of providing facilities for the diagnosis of typhoid fever and for determining the period of infectivity will, moreover, soon render imperative the extension of the laboratory work of the department so as to cover that field. In fact, such an extension has already been recommended by the Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service. When this shall have been accomplished the bacteriological work of the health department will cover the bacteriological control of diphtheria, of typhoid fever, of tuberculosis, and of the disinfecting service generally. It can then without great cost be extended so as to cover the bacteriological examination of our milk supply, and of the water supply of our dairy farms and of our public and school wells, and such other bacteriological examinations as circumstances may render necessary from time to time. For that reason it is urged that at the earliest possible moment a general bacteriological laboratory be established in connection with the health department.
INSPECTION SERVICE. Milk inspection.—The milk supply of the District of Columbia has during the past year come from 904 farms. Of these farms 62 were in the District of Columbia, 302 in Virginia, 514 in Maryland, 12 in Pennsylvania, and 16 in New York. They contain in all 16,172 dairy cows. The total number of inspections during the year was 4,388, and examinations of cows numbered 72,246. Two hundred and twenty cows were condemned on physical examination as unfit for dairy purposes181 on account of tuberculosis and 46 on account of diseases of the
udder. It may fairly be said that the general condition of the dairy farms supplying milk to this District is improving, but it must be added that the improvement seems slow. The public, however, which has been for many years so tolerant of insanitary conditions on the dairy farm, must realize that existing conditions are due to its own ignorance and neglect quite as much as to the ignorance and neglect of the farmer, and it must be realized, too, that it is one thing for the producer to demand a better quality of milk, especially when he is unwilling to pay an increase in the price therefor, and quite another thing for the farmer to meet that demand, when to do so requires, as it does in some cases, a considerable cash outlay. On the other hand, the producer and the dealer in milk have not, as one might imagine from arguments that are advanced from time to time, any vested right to sell milk that according to present prevailing opinion is bad, simply because their complacent or ignorant customers permitted them to sell such milk in the past; nor is there any reason why they should fail to scour milk utensils, to milk their cows in a cleanly manner, and to cool their milk promptly, simply because they have no money wherewith to build new barns.' In so far as the money aspects of the situation are concerned it is remarkable to note the uniformity with which farmers are in ignorance of the cost of production and delivery of the milk that they sell. It is not surprising, when the milkman bases his demand for an increased price upon generalities instead of upon figures showing the results of his actual operations, that the public should not submit willingly to his demand.
Through the courtesy of the Bureau of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture, and through the good judgment of the owners of dairy herds, many of the cattle supplying milk to this District have been tuberculin tested during the past year. The exact number of cows tested for the first time was 726 of this number, 56, equal to 7.7 per cent, reacted. In some instances it has been desired to keep tuberculous cattle on dairy farms, with the understanding that they would be isolated and used for breeding purposes according to the Bang method. While the Bang method may be satisfactory as a means of raising healthy stock from diseased cattle, yet it does not seem to the health department desirable to undertake to use it on a farm where milk is produced for sale. So long as the diseased cows are on the farm there is great danger that the milk from them will find its way into the market. Cows reacting to the tuberculin test should, therefore, be promptly and permanently marked so as to indicate that fact and the date of the reaction, and should be absolutely excluded from dairy farms. The health department does not believe that the removal of tuberculosis from among our dairy herds is going to result in the disappearance of all tuberculosis or even any considerable amount of tuberculosis among human beings. It does believe, however, that if only 10 per cent, or 5 per cent, or even only 1 per centthat is, if in this District approximately from 80 to 8 lives can be saved and a correspondingly large amount of sickness prevented each yearthe absolute eradication of tuberculosis from dairy farms would be worth while, even aside from the benefit that would accrue to the dairy farmer from its eradication.
The law providing for the issue of permits to bring or send milk into the District of Columbia requires that before a permit is issued the health officer shall be satisfied that such milk can be brought or