Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/112

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ple as regards troops; but the worst of all was to be found in the Indian jails, where, in some instances, 70 cubic feet only of air was the average allowed; in no cases did it exceed 300 cubic feet. The mortality was, as might be expected, one in four. It was a humble imitation of the Black Hole of Calcutta. So at the end of the last century, in the Dublin Lying-in Hospital, the mortality from trismus of the children was one in every six born; by better conditions of ventilation, it was reduced to one in nineteen and a half (Carpenter, page 985); and this number of deaths was again reduced. So in the London workhouses of the last century, twenty-three out of twenty-four children died in their first year. By reforms, especially by improved ventilation, the number of deaths was reduced from between 2,000 and 3,000 to between 400 and 500 (Carpenter, page 365). So with our soldiers. When barracks improved, especially in the matter of ventilation, deaths from zymotic diseases fell from 4·1 per 1,000 to 0·96 per 1,000 (Galton). So in the case of our sailors on board the Kattlesnake, a case which came under the notice of Prof. Huxley. The crew (Carpenter, page 256) had acquired by confinement (this seems to have been the special cause, though not the only cause) a predisposition to disease. No malady appeared, however, until one of them slightly wounded his hand: then typhoid resulted, and ran through the whole ship's company. They had carefully prepared themselves for disease with the poisons of impure air.

We suspect that no class of human beings suffers so much from the poison of foul air as infants. Older children and grownup persons are seldom so much shut up, and the diseases by which so many infants die, infantile diarrhoea, convulsions, and infantile pneumonia,[1] strongly suggest the irritation likely to be produced by breathing these waste-poisons; though improper food must also bear a large share of the blame. Of all the evil consequences, however, of foul air none can be traced more surely than phthisis or pulmonary consumption. Wherever men are crowded together without care and proper means to supply them with fresh air, there pulmonary disease shows itself. Parkes, Dr. A. Ransome, Sir D. Galton, and others have collected many interesting examples bearing on this matter.[2] Sir D. Galton tells us (page 502) that after our barracks were improved ventilation being one of the leading improvements chest and tubercular disease, which had been fatal to 101 per 1,000 soldiers, was only

  1. These make up a very large proportion. See lectures by Sutton. Health Lectures, 1879-'80, p. 130.
  2. "Experiments have recently been made in Berlin, in a room closely shut up after the death of a consumptive patient. Six weeks after the death living microbes of phthisis were found on the mirror, walls, and picture-frames, and these introduced into the body of a guinea-pig produced the disease."—(L. P.)