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sent into the District of Columbia without danger to public health. In view of our present knowledge with respect to the transmissibility of tuberculosis, the health officer has not seen his way clear of late to issue permits to nonresident dairy farmers until after their dairy herds have been tuberculin tested, but pending further action with respect to the elimination of tuberculosis generally from dairy herds both within and without the District, the health officer has suspended action on pending applications when all conditions were satisfactory excepting only the absence of the tuberculin testing. Since under the law an applicant can conduct his business so long as his application has not been acted upon, the applicant is not harmed by such suspension of action and the health department is put into a better position with respect to the future.
During the past year milk has been distributed at retail from 179 dairies where the sale of milk and milk products constituted the chief, or at least the larger part of the business done, so as to make the establishment a dairy within the meaning of the law. Milk is, of course, sold at a much larger number of places-groceries, lunch rooms, and other like establishments—but since these are not required to have permits for such sale, the exact number is not known.
Summary of register of permits to maintain dairies and dairy farms and to bring milk
into the District of Columbia, fiscal year 1907-8.
A plea is made for more pay for the inspectors in the dairy farm and dairy inspection service, particularly for those engaged in the inspection of dairy farms. The men now in the service are all graduate veterinarians. Their work is arduous, requires intelligence and special training, and limits very much the amount of private practice they can do. One of these inspectors receives $1,200 per annum and the others $1,000 per annum. Each receives an allowance to enable him to maintain a horse and vehicle so as to render it possible for him to discharge his official duties. The places are so undesirable that the last appointee but one declined to enter upon the duties of the office, and when it came to filling the vacancy there was but a single applicant. Nothing but better salaries and better prospects will render it possible to keep this inspection service on a proper basis.
Live stock inspection.Such slaughtering of animals as is done locally for consumption in the District takes place largely at abattoirs having federal inspection, either the abattoir located at Benning or those just across the District line in Virginia. There remain, as yet, however, 20 small local slaughterhouses that operate at irregular periods and at uncertain hours. While the sanitary condition of these establishments has been somewhat improved during the past year, yet, in so far as relates to actual inspection of the animals to be slaughtered and of their carcasses, the situation is very unsatisfactory. It is hoped that pending legislation for the regulation of these places may be enacted at an early date.
Markets, grocery stores, etc.—The inspection of markets and grocery stores has continued during the past year as heretofore. The inspection is systematic and much work is done, but the best results can not be expected until a stronger control is given over such places. It must be possible not only to inspect, but also to regulate location, construction, and management, so as to facilitate inspection. Restaurants, lunch rooms, bakeries, confectionery stores, and all similar places must be regulated and inspected in like manner. Legislation to accomplish these ends has been submitted and is now before Congress. Its early enactment will, it is believed, well serve the public interests.
Tables showing the amount of food condemned by the department appear in the Appendix. Some idea of the extent of such condemnations may, however, be gathered from the following figures, showing amounts condemned during the fiscal year: Beef, 3,362 pounds; mutton, 1,847 pounds; pork, 2,577 pounds; bacon, 1,839. pounds; veal, 852 pounds; oranges, 2,232 dozen; berries, 1,862 quarts; cantaloupes, 5,645; watermelons, 2,669; beets, 6,407 bunches; fish in markets and stores, 1,810 pounds and 369 bunches. At the fish wharf, there were condemned, among other things, 161,500 herring; 1,064 bunches of perch; 1,020 bushels of oysters; and 3,700 watermelons.
Marine products.— A statement showing arrivals of marine products at the fish wharf and the quantity inspected and the quantity condemned appears in the Appendix, and a brief statement as to condemnations is given in the preceding paragraph. The existing fish wharf is essentially, a public institution and as such it should be a model from which all dealers in marine products and from which, in fact, all dealers in other food products might properly pattern their establishments. The wharf, as it now exists is, however, primitive and unsatisfactory, illy adapted to its purposes either from the standpoint of sanitation or from the standpoint of convenience. It should be replaced by a proper wharf. If a reasonable part of the rentals and fees which the lessee of this wharf receives were applied to its improvement, the desired result could, it is believed, be promptly attained.
Nuisances.-A statement of the work done in the sanitary inspection service appears in the Appendix. The department greatly needs the services of a few inspectors for the systematic inspection of houses generally, and of stables and laundries, independent of complaint. The time of the existing corps of sanitary inspectors is so nearly taken up in giving attention to complaints filed at the health office that systematic inspection of any kind is almost impossible. If a few men were available who, having nothing to do with acting on complaints, could devote their entire time to going from house to house and yard to yard, particularly in our poorer sections, or from stable to stable, or laundry to laundry, or privy to privy, along specified routes, the general sanitary condition of the city would be much improved.
Attention is called to the previous recommendation of this department for the establishment of a public service for the collection and disposal of manure. It is hoped that such a service will be provided without unneccessary delay.
Weeds.-Provision should be made for the enforcement of “An act to cause the removal of weeds from lands in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, and for other purposes,”' approved March 1, 1899, or it should be repealed. This act requires the removal from all land in the city of Washington or its more densely populated suburbs of all weeds 4 or more inches in height. The owner of the land upon which the forbidden weeds are located is entitled to notice, and if he can not be found notice may be given by publication. This requires the accurate determination of the location of the weeds with respect to lot and square, and the subsequent discovery of the name and address of the owner of the land. Then follows service of notice. and subsequent reinspection to see whether it has been complied with. In case of noncompliance there must be prosecution in the police court or the removal of the weeds under the assessment system, or both. The law is silent as to the number of weeds that may be permitted within any given area. If literally interpreted, two weeds each 5 inches high would form a lawful basis for action, and even with a reasonable interpretation as to the number and height of weeds its universal enforcement throughout the city and the more densely populated suburbs would be so expensive as to be practically out of the question. For that reason it seems best that the law should be substantially modified, as, for instance, by raising the permissible height of weeds to 2 feet, and by providing that not more than 10 per cent of any lot or parcel of land, and in any event no unbroken area covering more than 100 square feet of land, should be so covered. If it can be lawfully done, the simplest and most direct way of accomplishing the desired result would be to authorize the cominissioners in any case in which unlawful weeds are found to cut and remove them and to assess some reasonable fixed charge for the service, without notice. Unless, however, the law is to be made susceptible of enforcement, either by making ample appropriation for that purpose, or by amending the law, or by both, it should be repealed, as its presence on the statute books under existing conditions accomplishes no substantial good and merely tends to lead to needless friction between the health department, complainants, and landowners.
Smoke.—The following statement shows the work of the smoke inspection service during the past year, with figures for comparison with preceding years. Statement showing work done in the smoke inspection service during the fiscal years 1906,
1907, and 1908.
Number of observations..
15,855 1, 179
14 $3,275 $1,615
Owners of the plants within the purview of the smoke law seem to have come to a realization of the fact that the law is on the statute books to stay, and the department is, therefore, experiencing less trouble each year with its enforcement.
Statements showing the work of the pound service appear in the Appendix. The pound force was augmented during the latter part of the year through the employment of an additional wagon, the cost thereof being paid from the emergency fund, under circumstances and with results that are detailed elsewhere. The demonstration of what an additional wagon can do affords the best possible argument in favor of providing for the operation of an additional wagon during a certain part of each year, as has been heretofore recommended. The pound is becoming more and more dilapidated each year, or at least would do so were not considerable sums of money spent from time to time to prevent that result. The work done by the pound service during the many years that it has occupied its present wretched quarters certainly entitles it at the present time to a better home.
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE.
The following is a statement in condensed form of the average daily work of the department during the past year:
Outline of average daily work of the health department. (Figures relate to fiscal year 1907-8 and calculations aro based on 306 working days to the year, except
where otherwise indicated.]
Unit of work.
24. 5 12.3 60.9 22.3 23. 5
1.8 23.1 3.1
.7 4.7 14.4 18.4
6.0 84. 4
Letters received, acknowledged, briefed, recorded, and indexed..
Transcripts of records issued....
Applications for permits to maintain dairies, etc., acted upon.
Complaints acted on by sanitary inspectors.
Cases of contagious diseases reported (calendar year 1907)
Patients removed to contagious-disease hospitals (calendar year 1907).
Schools visited (school year 1907-8, 177 days)..
Pupils examined (school year 1907-8, 177 days).
Animals taken to the pound.
7.3 4.1 2.8 6.5 .7
54. 4 67.9
35. 2 32.3
a See p. 21.
NEEDS OF THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT.
This report can not properly be closed without again calling attention to the need for strengthening the working force of the health department if the best results are to be obtained. If the work of the health department is to be limited to the mere enforcement of certain laws and regulations which have, or are supposed to have, some relation to the public health, all well and good. The health officer, however, takes no such narrow view of the duties of the department, and does not believe that results that are satisfactory to those who are able to look below the surface of things can be obtained in that way. What must be done if such results are to be accomplished is to analyze carefully and continually the existing condition and trend of public health in their relation to such preventive and remedial measures as are in force. Only in this way can it be determined which of such measures are accomplishing the results for which they were put into effect, and which of them, being wholly or in part worthless, should be discarded or modified.
Unfortunately, to the popular mind the crude general death rate of a community, in comparison with similar death rates of other communities, or with the death rates of the same city for other times, indicates the relative efficiency of sanitary control. As a matter of fact, however, the death rate depends upon so many factors, some of which have no relation to sanitary administration, that considered in its crude and general form it is practically worthless for the purpose for which it is popularly used. This statement is not made because death rates, as they now exist in this District, tend to discredit the present administration of sanitary affairs, for since the present health officer was appointed the general death rate of the community has fallen from 21.89 to 19.25; the death rate for the whites has fallen from 17.70 to 15.55, and that for the colored population from 30.67 to 28.22. But while it is true that the death rates set forth have fallen, the exact conditions which have brought the decline about are unknown, and it is of this that the health officer complains.
Men can not be found who are able and ready forthwith to do such analytical and directive work as the situation demands. They must grow up in the service, and in order to accomplish this it is necessary to have men enter the service who have the basic qualities requisite to permit of them to grow. Such men will not enter the service, however, or if they do enter it will not remain in it, unless there is before them some proper assurance of reward. The study of general sanitary problems brings no monetary returns in private life, and therefore men can not be expected to devote willingly the best working years of their lives to the study and application of sanitary science in the service of a community so long as they are liable to be thrown out of that service at any time without just cause and even opportunity for hearing. They can not be expected to enter the service and remain in it so long as there is no assurance of reasonable financial returns, so as to enable them to protect themselves and their families against the inroads of sickness and old age. And the men who do enter the service, whatever their qualifications may be, can not be expected to maintain an interest in their work and to develop