Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/83

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73
INLETS FOR INFECTION.

learned so much, but for equal surprise that so many persons appear to think it a complete and full-grown science, and that it is entitled to speak with confidence on all the great mysteries of the earth that have been hidden from the generations before us. Such being the newness of man and of his science of the earth, it is not too much to say that humility, hard work in collecting facts, and abstinence from hasty generalization, should characterize geologists, at least for a few generations to come.

In conclusion, science is light, and light is good; but it must be carried high, else it will fail to enlighten the world. Let us strive to raise it high enough to shine over every obstruction which casts any shadow on the true interests of humanity. Above all, let us hold up the light, and not stand in it ourselves.

 
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INLETS FOR INFECTION.[1]
By R. THORNE THORNE, F. R. C. P.

IN selecting a subject to bring before you, I felt that I should not be trespassing beyond the lines indicated by the committee who .have organized this series of lectures if I addressed my remarks to some points connected with those specific fevers the prevention of which must be regarded as coming within the scope of sanitary administration. I may, perhaps, indicate the importance of such a subject by quoting a few figures from the reports of the Registrar-General of England. Limiting myself to those diseases the spread of which is admittedly to be controlled by the adoption either of efficient sanitary works, or of such sanitary measures as isolation and disinfection, I find that during 1871-'80 the following deaths were registered in England and Wales: From typhus fever, 13,975; from enteric or typhoid fever, 78,421; from simple continued fever, which when fatal is probably nothing less than an ill-defined form of enteric fever, 25,643; from diphtheria, 29,425; and from scarlet fever, otherwise called scarlatina, 174,232. These deaths are essentially due to diseases which may be called preventable, and they amount in all to 321,696 in the ten years. But the influence of these diseases upon the population can not be judged of by the death-roll alone. For every fatal case there have probably occurred at least ten non-fatal attacks, and thus we come to be confronted with a total of 3,538,656 attacks from the preventable specific fevers. Mr. Simon, C.B., F.R.S., in dealing with such death returns, has said: "Of the incalculable amount of physical suffering and disablement which they occasion, and of the sorrows and

  1. Abridged from a lecture delivered at Cheltenham, March 15, 1883, and published in "The Practitioner."