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demic would have carried the disease over the greater part of the civilized world. We cannot, however, regard our country as safe from the invasion of the disease, even though we have escaped thus far, so long as it lingers in Spain and France. Neither can we feel that the sanitary condition of our great, and for that matter small, cities is sufficiently good to warrant our relying upon such grounds for exemption; not only should vigilant sanitary work be done each year and all the time, but
health organization and municipal government should be ready promptly to isolate in the most thorough manner the first case that may appear. An efficient sanitary organization which makes ready beforehand and keeps the sanitary condition of its jurisdiction up to the highest attainable point of cleanliness, sustaining a constant system of inspections, and guarding the water supply against pollution, places an almost impregnable barrier before the invasion of cholera. Such work not only fortifies a place against such a disease as the one under consideration, but it lessens the death rate from other diseases, which in the aggregate destroy more lives than all of our epidemics. The increased state and municipal expenditures, that follow the fright of any threatened epidemic, saves, no doubt, many valuable lives that would otherwise have been victims of some other form of filth disease.
The liability of cholera in this state, while much less than that of many others, is not beyond the limit of possibilities, and the action of the last legislature in establishing a fund to meet any such contingency was a wise one.
THE SCHOOLHOUSES OF THE STATE,
The board has given considerable attention to the sanitary and hygienic construction and condition of our schoolhouses. The manner in which this work has been carried out may be seen by reference to the paper upon the “Schoolhouses of Merrimack County,” elsewhere given in this report. A sanitary survey has been received of some fifteen hundred schoolhouses throughout the state.
Facts enough have been obtained to show that in a very great majority of districts, hygienic principles were entirely overlooked
or ignored in the construction of the houses, and that there is a lamentable neglect to exercise ordinary oversight, and in some cases decency, in caring for the buildings.
It may be justly said in many cases that structural defects cannot be easily remedied; but there can be no extenuating excuses offered for the disgusting, unsightly, disease-producing privies, or other equally dangerous nuisances, that are to be found in some districts. Still less can be said in defense of the district policy that entirely ignores the natural requirements of the pupils and provides no conveniences whatever! In an age like this, charac
! terized by its intense brain activity, by a cramming educational system that hurries through the multiplicity of studies and accomplishments composing the school curriculum in the shortest possible time, the physical demands are proportionally greater, and cannot with impunity be neglected. The pupil must be provided with all the essentials of perfect health, that the delicate and sensitive machine may not be broken down by an unequal strain. Good ventilation, proper light, unpolluted water, cleanly grounds, etc., are necessary adjuncts to every school, large or small.
Under the town system adopted by the last legislature, we hope to see these subjects given their proper attention, - at least that
, they will receive much more consideration than has been given them under the old district system.
Boards of education should recognize that they have some responsibilities resting upon them much more grave than the simple hiring of teachers and maintaining a certain number of weeks' schooling in a given locality. In the building of new houses they should be held responsible for the proper construction of the same in accordance with the most advanced principles. It costs no more to build a house properly than it does to erect a structure with no regard for the health of its occupants. Even if it did, a few dollars should not be spared when health, and even life itself, is jeopardized by such "economy."
Some legislation is needed to prevent the building of schoolhouses without conforming to certain regulations necessary to insure ample provision for ventilating, heating, lighting, etc. The state should furnish proper plans to every board of educa
tion, or other authority having charge of the construction of such houses, for such a house as the locality might demand, the expense, of course, to be left to the town or city in which the house is to be located. Such a course we believe would be of great advantage to the welfare of the pupils, as well as economical for the town.
The whole subject will be more fully discussed when the schoolhouse survey for the state has been completed.
SANITARY INSPECTIONS OF PUBLIC RESORTS AND SUMMER HOTELS.
A considerable number of the larger hotels have been inspected during the year, and many suggestions given to remedy existing defects, more particularly in respect to drainage and water supply. The courtesy with which suggestions of this character have been received indicates a strong desire on the part of the proprietors or owners to place their buildings in as healthful a condition as possible. In a few. individual cases several thousand dollars have been expended to secure this end, and appreciative summer tourists are quick to recognize these improvements, for such houses, other things being equal, will receive their patronage.
No hotel proprietor dependent upon summer travel can long fill his house without the closest attention to all the sanitary requirements. He may be able, by exterior and surface appearances, to do so for a while, but broken drains, cesspools saturating the soil, foul vaults threatening the water supply with pollution, and like defects, will sooner or later ruin his business; this has been demonstrated in our own state. A single outbreak of any of the filth diseases is ruinous, and with neglect it is sure to come.
This fact is so generally understood by those having money invested in the business that it is not usually difficult to secure such improvements as are actually required to obtain good sanitary appointments.
The best supply of water can, of course, be obtained in the mountain region, while in some localities along the coast it is difficult to secure.
Shallow wells as a rule should be condemned on account of their great liability to pollution. Only a few such were found in the several inspections made. It can be said that,
with a very few exceptions, the summer hotels in New Hampshire are in a first-class sanitary condition. The very few cases of zymotic disease that have been recorded during the last few years among our summer visitors, are sufficient evidence of this fact.
The sanitary inspections of our places of public resort will be annually followed as far as practicable.
SANITARY INSPECTION OF RAILWAY STATIONS AND GROUNDS.
During the year, the president and secretary of the board have inspected the stations and grounds of several of the railroads in the state. The work will be continued the present season. whole, the general condition of the stations and grounds of the various lines, from a hygienic standpoint, are good ; indeed, it may be said much better than was anticipated. The evidence is strong that a very marked improvement in the sanitary appointments of the railroads of this state has taken place within a few years, and at the rate of the last two or three, the time cannot be far distant when the conditions will be above criticism, so far as the corporations are concerned. All railroads should hold their local agents responsible for any failure to maintain the best hygienic appointments and scrupulous cleanliness after the structural requirements and necessary facilities have been provided by the corporation.
The general appreciation of the importance of the subject by the several railroads of the state is by no means inconsiderable. From every point of view, a good sanitary administration is economy for the corporation.
Quite a large number of complaints of nuisances have been received during the year. In some cases the board has made a direct investigation of the cause of complaint, and acted executively in the matter; others have been referred to the local board of health, and by the latter disposed of in a prompt manner, as a rule.
No complaint has been ignored, but has received the attention its importance merited.
A few instances of this kind will be found in the secretary's report. The law passed last session, chapter 14, Pamphlet Laws, 1885, has increased the executive powers of the board, so that it is now able to promptly handle any complaint that may be presented, if applicable to the public health, in a much more satisfactory manner than formerly.
All such complaints should, however, be first presented to the local board of health, and then if not acted upon in due time, the case may be presented to this board.
Local boards may apply to the state board at any time for advice in any specified case, which will be given promptly in every instance.
The last legislature enacted some laws tending to secure a better sanitary administration than has heretofore existed. It invested the state board of health with increased powers, and provided for the creation of local boards by appointment, if not elected.
The wisdom of the legislature in placing upon our statutes additional laws for the protection of the health of the people is to be commended; the subject should be looked upon with as
1 much consideration as is given to the care of property, or the fostering of productive industries. Indeed, as the accumulation of property and the prosperity of every industry are dependent very largely upon the status of the public health, the latter should be a primary consideration with the law makers of every commonwealth.
The idea should be grasped by every community and every family that public health means much more than is literally expressed by the term. In attaining a high standard of public health, there are other results greater than the cleaning of a street or the building of a sewer ; intellectual, moral, and physical energies are created, which in themselves bear the fruits of happiness and longevity; the comprehension is expanded, and the higher and nobler purposes of life are better seen and appre