THE PUBLIC HEALTH OF ITALY.

THE PUBLIC HEALTH OF ITALY.

678 believe that many, which cannot be thus dealt with, still fall short of the higher condition of excellence which is contemplated by the Customs an...

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678 believe that many, which cannot be thus dealt with, still fall short of the higher condition of excellence which is contemplated by the Customs and Inland Revenue Act. The remedy undoubtedly is to amend the Building Acts ; but even when this done it is still desirable that the planning and arrangement should be subject to the approval of the local authority, for no Act can be so drawn as to cover all the conditions which ought to be held necessary. Some more intimate relation between the administration of the London County Council and the local sanitary authority appears to be indicated, but it is not obvious how this can be brought about until these authorities are more closely associated by an Act for the better government of

London. __

THE PUBLIC HEALTH OF ITALY. AN Italian correspondent writes :--" According to ofiicial information furnished by the Ministro dell’ Interno, the health of the peninsula is excellent, all the sanitary bureaux in the islands, as well as on the mainland, having just telegraphed to headquarters in the same satisfactory sense. The so-called case of cholera announced from the island of Capri, in the Bay of Naples, turns out to have been greatly misreported. It was simply a case of ordinary diarrhoea, rather violent in character. Meanwhile the sanitary surveillance on the northern frontier is maintained with unabated vigilance. The ’Direttore della Sanita Pubblica,’ who, as already announced, had gone to the Swiss confines to inspect the sanitary’servizio 3i vigilanza,’ has just sent back a most reassuring report. Besides the measures for disinfection and isolation ready in case of need to be enforced on the Italian side, the cooperation of the Swiss authorities in keeping the Government of Italy informed as to the first indications of cholera or other infectious disease within their frontier is at Both powers, Italian and Swiss, once cordial and effective. are mutually pledged to the adoption of the most rigorous ulterior measures should the sanitary situation prescribe them."

objectors remains unchanged. They cavil as we suggested in our last issue, at the needful suffering inflicted on a few rodents with this purpose, and in arguments of the most fallacious character seek to load it with responsibility for numberless alien operations. What, in fact, does the suffering endured in preparing the virus of rabies really amount to’1 We may best answer this question by reference to a paper by Dr. W. N. Thursfielcl in the 8anitnry Record of Dec. 15th, 1887, in which it is stated that the only processes absolutely essential to the practical working of the Pasteur system consisted in : (1) the inoculation of three rabbits daily with rabid virus ; (2) test inoculations chiefly on guinea-pigs to test whether animals presumably rabid were really so. (The latter we should consider much less essential than the former and probably not always indispensable.) Further, all inoculations except those which were merely subcutaneous (and such are daily employed in the ordinary treatment of disease) were performed under anaesthetics. The rabbits operated on acquired the paralytic form of rabies, with dulness of cerebral function and apparently did not suffer much pain. Surely no thinking person would compare this greatly limited discomfort in animals, hardly to be called suffering, with the irrepressible agonies of hydrophobia in man. What, then, becomes of even the sentimental opposition to a British institute for the treatment of hydrophobia ? THE SPLEEN A NECESSARY FACTOR IN

IMMUNITY.

DRS. Pizzo-Ni and P ATTANI have found that the spleen exerts a very important influence in processes adopted with the object of rendering animals immune to infectious diseases. Their experiments were conducted with the virus of tetanus upon guinea-pigs, and they found-as, indeed, they had been led to expect by previous researches on the blood serum of animals rendered immune-that those in which the spleen had been extirpated were incapable of being rendered im. mune, this incapacity being permanent. It would thus appeal that no other organ is able to carry on the particular functior. of the spleen upon which the immunity depends, though its PERSONAL LIBERTY AND SANITARY LEGISLATION hasmatopoietic functions may, as is well known, be vicariously WE are only at the beginning of the question of the limita- performed by the medulla of the bones. tions of personal liberty for the good of society. It is raised in a somewhat acute form in such Acts as the Vaccination RESPONSIBILITY IN HOMICIDE. Act, the Notification of Infectious Diseases Act and the Public SINCE the time-now long forgotten in antiquity-when Health Act. Under the last Act especially strong- human first began to busy itself with the duties of the feelings have to be contended with and great tact and judg- public opinion no subject has probably supplied it with a deeper ment are needed in those who execute the law. The law physician interest than that of destructive madness. Our ancestors nevertheless is a good and reasonable one. We read in the it from the dark shroud of demon-possession and TVestern Daily ]}Ieq-cllry that recently great difficulty was ex- unwrapped showed it forth as a form of lunacy. We, more wisely vague, perienced at Devonport in carrying out a magistrate’s order have clothed it with another shadow and called it homicidal for the removal of a child with scarlet fever to an infectious mania. Still we seek more and still we do not know the hospital. The mother locked the door and the neighbours limit, if there be one, whichlight excludes it from crime and insympathised with her. The first resistance succeeded ; but cludes it within the province of disease. For a ray of at length the key was found and the child was removed in which may help our decision in this matter, and the interest of the public, and especially of the child’s own light thus prove of practical value, we are indebted to family and of the neighbours who were the resisting parties. Dr. Ellis of Singapore. The experience of this observer as At St. Ives a public meeting has been held to oppose the medical superintendent of the lunatic asylum in that town introduction of the Notification of Infectious Diseases Act has brought him in contact with Malays affected with the on the view that it is the first step to isolation of infectious " disease known as "amok"or "amuck." The result of his cases. The administration of the law should be carried out is he divides that those investigations evidently suffering with mingled firmness and sympathy. from this disorder into two classes. These are : (1) Persons in whom the sudden maniacal fury is obviously and un"A BRITISH HOSPITAL FOR HYDROPHOBIA." accountably impulsive, uncontrollable and unexplained by THE mental attitude characteristic of the opponents of previous ill-temper; and (2) those who, under a sense of vivisection is, we fear, too immovably fixed in sentiment and wrong, have worked themselves into a fury which results in averse to reason to allow of its being altered by rational disthe ungovernable impulse referred to. The latter he naturally cussion. We are not therefore surprised that in spite of the considers at least partially responsible, the former not at signal triumphs of humanity won for mankind by this method all. Researches into causation have yielded no very tangible alone, and in nothing illustrated more distinctly than in the result, and the classification above given brings us no nearer preventive treatment of hydrophobia, the position of these to the causal fountain head than we were before. It is so far ____