Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/789

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INFECTION AND DISINFECTION.

will deny the right and duty of Government to look out for itself. Self-preservation is a law that applies to governments as well as to individuals. Any factors that threaten the stability of organized society, threaten at the very same time the very existence of governments. Hence, when scientific and hygienic laws show that certain environments degrade and degenerate men, they must be prevented, although appearing to interfere with the liberty of the subject. No legal shibboleth must be allowed to stand in the way of such action. Government in its function of preserving itself, and looking out for the best good of the majority, must prevent a minority from living in any way it can take cognizance of that plainly lessens their health and efficiency.

In spite of caste, society is homogeneous. One section can not suffer long without affecting all. If one part is much diseased, the healthy part will sooner or later feel the infection. More equable health will equalize opportunity. Political communism is a dream of agitators. The toiling, weary, worsted masses look in vain to such a chimera. Deliverance must come from within. Our popular agitators are impatient of a few weeks' delay in righting the wrongs of society. Reform of this kind that is measured by months is superficial and uncertain. Nature in progressing is prodigal of time, but operates with certainty and thoroughness.

 

INFECTION AND DISINFECTION.
By ROBSON ROOSE, M. D.

THE enormous variety of subjects contained in medical literature necessitates the use of a corresponding number of terms, the majority of which have a certain and well-known meaning; but it would be difficult to find two words more wanting in the element of precision, and more loosely used, than those placed at the head of this article. The general public, indeed, solve all difficulties by connecting with the word infection the idea of something "catching," i. e., something that can be propagated from one person to another, and disinfection is correspondingly regarded as the means whereby such propagation can be hindered. It must be admitted that this simple view is quite correct so far as it goes. It of course disregards all questions as to the nature of infection, and the reason why some diseases spread from person to person and others do not, and it accepts without doubt the belief that disinfection is generally attainable, and by comparatively simple means. In cases especially where the use of some well-advertised material is found to neutralize or mask an unpleasant odor, the completeness of the disinfection is looked upon as absolutely certain.

In medical writings the confusion has been still further increased