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DEATH AND CONTAGIOUS DISEASE
By F. C. JOHNSON, M. D.
For the twelve months ending November 30, 1910, there were 1165 deaths in the city of Wilkes-Barre, 59 more than during the previous twelve months. In considering these totals it must be remembered that all deaths occurring in the WilkesBarre hospitals are counted in the Wilkes-Barre totals. Often these are out of town cases, especially accident. The city ought not by right to have such cases added to its mortuary record.
All still births and premature births are also added to the list. It is doubtful whether these should be counted in the death record. If the out of town cases dying in the hospitals and still and premature births were deducted, a much better showing would be made. The latter alone number 108 for the past year.
The 1910 mortality, based on a population of 67,000, was at the rate of seventeen deaths for each thousand of population.
As usual, pneumonia leads the list of actual diseases, with 106 deaths, 13 less than the previous year.
In 1910 there were 125 deaths as the result of accidents, 7 less than in 1909. All deaths from accident in the WilkesBarre hospitals are included in the totals, although a large number of the victims are from other places.
Heart disease numbered 81 deaths in 1910-12 less than during the previous year.
Tuberculosis caused 61 deaths in 1910, 5 more than in 1909. This is more than any year during the past ten years, with the exception of 1909, when there were 62 deaths from this disease.
Cancer caused 12 fewer deaths in 1910 than in 1909. This is very gratifying considering that the mortality from cancer is increasing at a rapid rate throughout the country.
There were 52 deaths from cholera infantum in 1910, 9 more than the previous year. The deaths from cholera infantum and other infantile stomach and bowel complaints combined num
bered about 80 in 1910, as near as can be judged from the way many of the cases were reported.
Diseases of the kidneys caused 64 deaths in 1910. That is above the average for ten years.
During 1910 there were 22 deaths from typhoid fever, as against 10 for the previous year. In 1906 there were 26 deaths, the highest in ten years. The high record for 1910 was due to a mild epidemic of the disease in Wilkes-Barre and vicinity. It must be remembered that a number of cases from out of town are brought to the Wilkes-Barre hospitals. These are included in the Wilkes-Barre totals, although they do not belong there. They make Wilkes-Barre's record worse than it really is.
There were 12 deaths from diphtheria reported in WilkesBarre in 1910 out of 196 cases reported. The table shows a great reduction since 1895, when there were 88 deaths out of 299 cases, and in 1892, when there were 130 deaths. For the last ten years, under anti-toxin, the deaths from diphtheria have averaged 14 a year, while for the five years preceding the use of anti-toxin, the deaths averaged 80 per year.
In 1910 there were 200 cases of scarlet fever and 3 deaths, and in 1909 there were 155 cases and 10 deaths. The proportion of deaths to the number of cases varies considerably from year to year. In 1902, for instance, there were 409 cases and 14 deaths.
In 1910 there were 133 cases of measles and I death. The disease was epidemic in the city during the year 1909, when there were 1,326 cases. Not all of the cases are reported, some families not having physicians. The way in which this disease fluctuates is shown by the above figures. In 1898 only one case was reported.
In addition to the contagious and infectious diseases noted in the table there were reported during the twelve months ending with November 30, 1910, the following cases:
It is evident that not all of thest diseases are reported by physicians. For instance, only 42 cases of pneumonia were reported, while there were 106 deaths from that disease. It may be taken for granted that the cases of diphtheria, scarlet fever and typhoid fever are quite accurately reported, but most of the other contagious and infectious are not, although there is a heavy penalty for violating the law in this respect on the part of physicians and on the part of parents who do not employ physicians.
The large number of cases of tuberculosis reported is due partly to the fact that a county dispensary, where suspected cases are examined, is located in Wilkes-Barre.
It will be noted in the table that 192 cases of typhoid fever were reported in Wilkes-Barre for the twtlve months. Although there was an unusually large number of cases in the city proper, there were 46 additional cases-not noted in the totals in the Wilkes-Barre hospitals from out of town. But it is probable that some of the out of town cases in the WilkesBarre hospitals are included in the Wilkes-Barre totals in the accompanying table, due to failure to report them properly. All of the deaths from typhoid are rtported in the Wilkes-Barre totals. For this reason the report does not show the exact number of cases and deaths in the city.
17 0 3
.313 26 36
Totals 1910 .....196
Totals 1898 ..160 16 84 19
Totals 1896 .....266
Deaths O O O
6 0 5
14 205 18 185
9 507 3