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not too much to demand that vigorous measures should be taken by the legislature to cope with what is now regarded as one of the most fruitful means of spreading consumption. We know that in some of the states of America public opinion has permitted the enactment of laws penalising this practice. Local rules to the same effect exist in our Australian colonies. On the Continent the trend of public opinion is evident by the prohibition found in the railway carriages and the notices to that effect conspicuously posted in public places. In this country public opinion moves so slowly that we are not yet ripe for any such strong step, and so far one of the few attempts at official activity in this respect is to be found in a circular issued by the Local Government Board of Ireland to the various local authori. ties stating that “tuberculous sputum is the main agent for the conveyance of the virus of tuberculosis from man to man, and that indiscriminate spitting should therefore be suppressed.” The public exhibition of notices calling attention to the danger accruing from expectoration in public resorts is, as already pointed out, one means of educating the people, and it has been stated that such a notice is posted in every beerhouse in Manchester. The question has also been raised of the inspection of beerhouses and the
suggestion made that licences should be withdrawn in the case of those holders who did not wash the floors of their public rooms and keep them in a sanitary state. At the present time, in this country, it is perhaps more to the private conscience of the individual and the pressure of public opinion than to penal enactments that we must look for effective reform in this direction, for the objection of the English to official sanitary control is deeply rooted. It is to be hoped, however, that with the spread and popularisation of the knowledge acquired through the arduous labours of so many scientific authorities, it may come to be regarded as a matter for both public and private morality that every step should be taken which lies in the power of each member of society to minimise the opportunities for the spread of a disease which by its very familiarity we have until the last few years accepted as incurable and the ravages of which as inevitable.*
* Since the above was written, the first international conference of the Central Committee for the Prevention of Consumption has been held in Berlin. The official report of the English National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis was presented to the Congress, and the encouraging announcement was made that the Corporations of Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool had made expectoration in tramcars a punishable offence; and that the Glamorganshire County Council had passed a bye-law providing as penalty for expectoration in public buildings a fine of £5, which enactment had been sanctioned by the Secretary for the Home Department.
Now that we are considering the status of street dust in bacterial circles, it will not perhaps be out of place to inquire into the character of another waste product of streets, i.e. the discarded ends of cigars and cigarettes. That what is carelessly tossed away on the one hand may be as carefully collected on the other is well known, as is also the fact that such material may subsequently be raised once more to the dignity of a marketable commodity. Under these circumstances, it is of hygienic interest and importance to ascertain whether disease germs, should they have obtained access to this tobacco refuse, are in a virulent or quiescent condition.
Some experiments to decide this question in connection with the tubercle bacillus have been recently carried out in Padua by Dr. Peserico, who, whilst extending our knowledge on the subject of bacteria and tobacco, has also confirmed the earlier results obtained by Kerez.
Portions of cigar-stumps smoked by phthisical persons in whose saliva the tubercle bacillus was known to be abundantly present were inoculated into guinea-pigs, with the result that fifty per cent. of the animals thus treated succumbed to tuberculosis. Thus neither the fumes nor juice of the tobacco had destroyed the consumption bacillus. In these experiments the cigar ends were used
directly they were discarded, in another series of investigations they were collected and kept in a dry place for from fifteen to twenty days before being tested; but even storage for this length of time did not prevent the animals inoculated with them from contracting tuberculosis. In another series of experiments Dr. Peserico kept the infected cigar-ends in damp surroundings, and it was satisfactory to find that under these conditions the tubercle bacillus at the end of ten days was entirely deprived of its virulence. Encouraged by these results, inoculations were made with cigar-ends which had been left in the open and exposed to normal atmospheric conditions, which included falls of rain and snow, and in this case also no symptoms of tuberculosis followed their introduction into the guinea-pigs. These experiments show that the tubercle bacillus is prejudicially affected by contact with tobacco when the latter is kept in a moist condition, but that in a dry condition the properties in tobacco inimical to its vitality are not liberated and the bacillus can retain its virulent properties for a period of over twenty days.
In view of the importance of this discovery on the destruction of the toxic character of the tubercle bacillus by contact with moist tobacco, further experiments were made in which emulsions
of tobacco were infected with tuberculous sputum. It was found that the bacilli steadily declined in virulence as the length of time they were kept in the emulsion was prolonged. Thus whereas after a few hours they were still armed with all their virulent properties, after three days, out of the four animals inoculated with the emulsion three succumbed to tuberculosis, after five days two out of four succumbed, whilst after eight days only one animal out of the four was infected, and after a period of ten days' immersion in the tobacco emulsion the tubercle bacillus failed to kill a single animal.
Cigar- and cigarette-ends were collected from the streets and cafés of Padua by Peserico, but in spite of consumption being stated to be very prevalent in this city, in no single case could the presence of the tubercle bacillus be discovered, although, as in the other investigations, the surest method for its detection, i.e. animal inoculations, was employed.
Brief reference may be made also to the experiments conducted to ascertain if cigars and cigarettes, as sold, contain the tubercle bacillus. The more interest attaches to this investigation because it is well known that the operators employed in tobacco factories are, as a rule, an unhealthy class, diseases of the respiratory organs, and especially tuberculosis, being very prevalent