Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 64.djvu/239

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235
IMMIGRATION AND THE PUBLIC HEALTH.

Germans and Hebrews. The statement is made in some text-books that trachoma is prevalent among the Irish. Observation of immigrants shows that this statement is not true. There is less trachoma among the Irish than any other race of immigrants. The table given below indicates the ratio in which this disease was found among the immigrants landed in 1902.

Race. Ratio of Cases of Trachoma to Number Immigrants Landed.
Syrian 1 to 66
Armenian 1 to 192
Lithuanian 1 to 375
Finn 1 to 496
Hebrew 1 to 539
Greek 1 to 667
Slav 1 to 758
German 1 to 772
Scotch 1 to 1,216
Magyar 1 to 1,243
Italians 1 to 2,066
Scandinavians 1 to 3,486
English 1 to 3,623
Irish 1 to 4,173
 

Favus for several years has been included in the list of excluded diseases. If the disease had existed for any length of time, it is, of course, easily detected by the loss of hair and changed character of the individual hairs and the scalp, but in cases of recent origin detection is often difficult because of shrewd efforts at concealment. The immigrants are often prepared for inspection, the tell-tale yellow crusts carefully removed and the scalp cleansed.

Tuberculosis of the lungs is rarely found among immigrants on arrival. Thousands of immigrants are examined whose poor physique suggests to the medical examiner the possible existence of tuberculosis, but out of the many thousands thus examined at Ellis Island last year, only fifteen cases were certified as suffering from tuberculosis of the lungs.

This apparent freedom from tuberculosis is partly explained by the fact that tubercular diseases are notoriously diseases of the cities, while the bulk of our immigration comes from the agricultural communities and small towns. The remarkable prevalence of tuberculosis among recently landed immigrants is the effect of horrible over crowding in infected, filthy tenements by immigrants whose poor physique makes them ready prey for communicable disease. In addition to the horrible congestion of the tenements, the insufficient food and insufficient fuel and clothing, especially among immigrants from Mediterranean countries, must be considered as factors in the development of tuberculosis.

The danger to the public health from immigrants suffering from communicable disease is at present comparatively slight. The United States Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service is charged by law with the medical inspection of all incoming aliens at ports of the