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For much of the information in relation to the endemic as at present existing at Staten Island, we are indebted to Dr. J. C. Peters, of this city. We are glad to express our sense of obligation to him for this and other favors. He generously placed at our disposal, facts which he had taken some pains to collect for purposes of his own.

At the present writing, Yellow Fever is fairly settled on Staten Island, and we may count with great certainty upon a spread of the disease, unless immediate means are taken to arrest the progress of the contagion. We are by no means anxious for the reputation of alarmists, but with the prospect before us of yellow fever among the poor of our densely crowded tenement houses, we deem it but duty to the public to give the facts, and to call attention to the loud warning which they convey. The poorer classes always suffer most, during the prevalence of such diseases as yellow fever, lacking as they do in many instances, the proper means of treatment, during the progress of the disease, and proper diet and care, during convalescence. The rich can, of course, retreat from the threatened danger, if the thing they should shun is pointed out to them. To protect the poor and to warn the rich, is a part of our present object, though a short resume of the symptoms and therapeutics of the disease will follow. Up to the 22nd of August, there had been received at the Quarantine Hospital, 153 cases of yellow fever, with the very fair result of 90 discharges, 29 deaths, and 34 still in the Hospital wards.

The ports from which these cases came, with the results attending the treatment, are indicated in the following list.

Cases. Deaths. Discharged. Remaining.
Havana 30 4 22 4
Kingston, Jamaica 41 6 25 10
Sagua la Grande 7 1 4 2
Puerto Principe 3 1 2
Matanzas 8 3 5
Cardenas. 1 1
St. Thomas 1 1
St. Jago, 2 1 1
Remedios 1 1
Trinidad 1 1
Cuenfuegos 4 4
New Orleans, 27 3 16 8
Savannah 10 2 5 3
Ship Susquehannah.
shipkeepers, 3 2 1
stevedores, 10 2 5 3
Tompkinsville, S. I.
(epidemic) 3 2 1
Ship Grotto, Shipkpr.1 1
Total. 153 29 90 34

Or 18.3 percent of Deaths.

The above is entirely correct as to the prevalence of the disease within the gates of Quarantine Hospital. The following extract from a letter of Dr Walzer, Assistant physician at the Marine Hospital, indicates the progress of the epidemic outside of the Hospital walls.

There have been cases of yellow fever this season outside of the Quarantine walls, on Staten Island, on throe localities only viz., 1st. In a block of shanties close by the beach, and a short distance below the Quarantine; second, in the Silvia-house, directly on the beach, and about half a mile below Townsend's Dock; and thirdly, at New Brighton, in two dwellings, on each side of the Postoffice building, which also is very close to the beach.

In the first locality there have been in all twelve cases and four deaths, the first case being reported as appearing on the 17th of July ult.; in the second two cases and two deaths, being taken ill on the 11th and 13th inst; in the third, three cases and one death, being taken ill on the 13th and 15th inst. The source of the disease in the first and second locality is distinctly traceable to infected shipping within the Quarantine anchorage, but the source of the malady in the third locality is wholly a matter of conjecture if the statements of the patients are to be relied upon.

It will be perceived by the localities mentioned that nearly two miles intervene between each, and aside from these three points there have occurred no cases of yellow fever on Staten Island this season.

Some interesting particulars in relation to the cases referred to by Dr. Walzer are given in the following extracts from Dr. Lea's report to the Richmond Medical Society.

The first case of epidemic yellow fever occurred about the middle of the month of July. A man named Kramer, who had been employed in burning the infected bedding, etc., on the iron scow “Dr. Rockwell,” sickened at his residence in the village of Tompkinsville, but was subsequently removed to the Quarantine Hospital, where he died. It has been stated to the committee, and to the best of its belief is true, that Kramer had been in the habit of bringing to his wife articles of clothing intended for the flames, and that they were washed on the premises. On the 17th of July Mrs. Kramer was attacked with yellow fever, and died at her own residence. Opposite the house of Kramer, in the same yard, and only a few feet from the door of ingress, is the entrance to a small tenement, occupied by a stevedore employed on the Quarantine, named Nell; between the wife of this man and Mrs. Kramer a close intimacy existed, and she took the fever about the same period and died on the 19th of July. A post mortem examination of this case was made by Drs. Prendergast and Munday, and the case reported as yellow fever to the Castleton Board of Health. The authenticity of this case was denied by the Quarantine authorities but in the minds of this Committee there is no doubt of its genuineness.

The next case was that of Mr. Halliday, who owned the house occupied by Nell and whose own residence was on the saint, lot, fronting on Griffin street; he was seized on the 23d of July and died on the 27th. A boy in the same house took the disease subsequently, but has recovered.

On the 3d of August Mr Young and daughter, living on Griffin street, and the rear of whose lot joined that of Kramer, also sickened; they were well marked cases of yellow fever, and have recovered. Subsequently, a German sailor, living immediately on the water, at the lower termination of Minthorn street, and not over 100 feet from the house of Kramer, sickened with yellow fever, and has had a tedious convalescence. A son of the above mentioned patient sickened on the 21st of July, and is still under treatment. Mrs. Finnerty, living in the same block, was seized with the fever on the 2d of August, and has recovered.

On the 18th of August the disease made its appearance in the house of Mr. Miles, in the same block, and only a few steps from the last mentioned place. The first case occurred on the 18th, in the person of his daughter; on the 20th, another daughter was attacked; on the 21st he was seized, and lastly, his wife on the 23d inst.; these cases are now under treatment, one of them is in a dying condition. In an adjoining house n Mr. Holland resides, and Mr. Nell, after the death of his wife, took up his quarters here. On the 23d of August Mr. H. was seized with the yellow fever, and his death has just been reported.

On the 8th and 11th days of August two cases of yellow fever occurred at Sylvia's Point, about one and a half miles from the above locality, in a house situated immediately upon the water; the victims were Miss Cross and her servant girl. On the 18th of August, Mrs. Quinn, living between Townsend's Dock and the Gas Works, was attacked with yellow fever, and will probably die before this report goes to press.

The residence of the last mentioned patient is not more than a half a mile from the house in which Miss Cross and servant resided.

Two cases of yellow fever occurred at New Brighton on the 12th of August, in a building near the landing; one of these, a distinctly marked case, was transfered to the city, at her own request, and now lies in the building No.16 Green wich street. Her companion is at Bridgeport, Connecticut, having recovered.

On the 15th of August Mr. Block, living at the corner of Jersey street and Richmond terrace, was attacked with yellow fever, and he died on the 19th. His case was particularly marked, the black vomit having occurred. The wife of Mr. Block sickened at the same time, in the same bed, and has since recovered.

It will be perceived from this report, that the disease has appeared in three distinct localities; the first district being included in the triangular block bounded on one side by the bay, by the Hospital on another, and by Griffin street on the remaining side. These cases, fifteen in number, may be traced to the introduction of infected clothing by Kramer.

The cases at Silvia's Point can only be attributed to imprudent bathing; the committee having come to the conclusion that the peculiar position of the house upon the bay, where the eddies of the ebb tide deposit floating materials favored the development of the disease.

The case of Mrs. Quinn has been ascribed to recent intercourse with a friend laboring under the same disease.

In the third locality, that is near the New Brighton landing, the causes have probably been exposure at night; the girls who were attacked, as well as Mr. Block, we're in the habit of walking along the beach in the evening, and of breathing an atmosphere poisoned by the fumes from the iron scow.

The iron scow, which has been laying within two hundred feet of the beach for several weeks past, is allowed to burn her refuse not only within sight, but also within smell of the residents along the shore; surely this gross carelessness has not failed to co-operate with the other circumstances mentioned as being instrumental in the causation of yellow fever.

A careful reading of the above extract can hardly fail to convince any intelligent person whether layman or physician, of the really contagious character of yellow fever. To us it seems not only the height of folly to attempt to argue in the face of such facts as these, but the extreme of recklessness to omit the precautions which are called for. What can be said by the non-contagionists to the following facts, taken from Dr. Holcombe's Second Article on Yellow Fever, published in 1856, in the North American Homoeopathic Journal.

“For ourselves, we have seen enough this year alone, to say nothing of the two years previous, to convince us immovably that the yellow fever we have to deal with here on the banks of the Mississippi is a palpably contagious disease, communicable by contact of persons, clothing, &c. This little village of Waterproof, La., never presented a case of it until this year. It has raged above and below us, but never appeared amongst our population. The autumnal remittents and malignant intermittents, when prevailing here were never known to turn into yellow fever or be mistaken for it. A stranger from New Orleans, sick of the disease, is landed from a boat. He convalesces and leaves, but in the course of a week others are taken, and very soon the constantly increasing virus infects the whole atmosphere and we have more than a hundred cases in the course of a month. A gentleman residing several miles out of Natchez rides into town to see his brother's family, sick of yellow fever, assured by the physician of its non-contagious nature. In a few days he sickens, next his wife, then the chambermaid, then a daughter who nursed them, then a woman brought in from the field to supply the place of the chambermaid, then, other children, and so on, until twelve or thirteen cases occur; all the persons on the place being exempted except those who came near the sick persons or the the sick rooms. A negro accompanying his young master to college is taken sick one night at a gentleman's country-seat-remote from all towns and public roads where every body is and has been for weeks in perfect health. He gets well and goes away, but several of the family who were with him sicken, and three die of black vomit. It is now found that the same disease has also broken out at the same place the negro started from, he having had the germs of the complaint in his system in a state of incubation. We need not adduce more examples. We have seen and heard of so many similar cases that we feel impelled to recommend all unprotected, unacclimatized persons to get out of its way, and to lend our cordial support to all sanitary, hygienic and Quarantine regulations which may promise deliverance from its visitations.”

The progress of yellow fever seems marked by three stages, the first of which is eminently febrile, the last one of collapse and the middle, one of transition. In the first, the phenomena are symptomatic of a strong reactionary attempt, and the powers of nature are manifested more prominently than are the influences of the morbid element. In the second, the morbid element has evidently the mastery, though the congeries of symptoms still give evidences of the vis medicatrix.

In the third and last stage, the morbid taint is paramount, and the vitality gradually ceases to manifest itself. Considering the symptoms of the first stage, as indications of a natural effort to throw off the disease, we can readily understand how it happens that the patients in whom the febrile symptoms are most intense; whose head-aches, and other pains, those in the back and bones particularly, are most severe; whose pulses are strong and full are the ones which recover soonest and easiest, under the proper medication.

Homoeopaths must be well satisfied that the depleting remedies employed by the old system are calculated to oppose nature in the reactionary efforts which she is earnestly making. The loss of blood or other humors, under these circumstances, is just so much energy taken from the recuperative powers, and when the second stage comes on in which there is a general subsidence of the intense fever, the weakness of the vitality is destructive to the patient. As is well known to our school, the Aconite and Belladonna, which are generally administered by us, in this first febrile stage, stimulate nature in the very direction she has chosen for the recuperative efforts.

The natural effort, which has fever as its concomitant, originates in the vitality of the patient, and our aid is attracted and solicited in that direction by the red fever flag which distressed nature hangs out.

The beginning of the second stage is generally pretty well marked by a fall of the pulse, and a remission of most of the febrile symptoms. The skin perspires moderately and the patient feels much relief, dependent on the subsidence of his headache and other pains. This remission is very similar to that almost always observed, in the morning, in cases of bilious remittent fever. Toward the close of this period the tongue becomes brown and dry, and the mucus membrane lining the mouth and fauces assumes an edematous and softened appearance. In the cases we have seen, the secretions from the mouth were slightly tinged with blood from the softened gums, even before the ejecta from the stomach were thrown off. Nausea and thirst, with epigastric tenderness make up with the prostration of the patient, a totality of symptoms indicating Arsenicum.

It is in the third stage that we have the ejecta assuming the brown or black color, and the remedies found of most value, and which are exceedingly well indicated at this last period are Arsenicum, Lachesis, Nitrate of Silver, and Sulphuric Acid. Drs. Holcombe and Davis used the remedies above mentioned, in the endemics which they witnessed with excellent success. Their results are as follows.

In 1853 555 cases, 33 deaths,
“ 1854 112 ” 0 “
” 1855 349 “ 22 ”
1016 cases, 55 deaths,

This is a mortality of 5. 4 percent, among these cases there were four, three of whom had “brown” and one, black vomit, who recovered.

The percentage of deaths at Staten Island is small, when compared with that which generally follows Allopathic treatment, but it seems to be three times as great as that resulting from the Homoeopathic, even excluding from the computation the epidemic of 1854. This success is extremely gratifying. We are fully satisfied it was owing to the philosophical application of the remedies to the totality of the symptoms, in the individual cases. It, by no means, follows that the drugs named above are applicable to all forms of the disease.


Source: The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 01, 1858, pages 17-22
Description: Yellow Fever at Staten Island.
Remedies: Aconitum napellus, Belladonna, Arsenicum album, Lachesis, Argentum Nitricum, Sulphuricum Acidum
Author: Peters, J.C.
Year: 1858
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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