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amongst them. A German official report on this subject states that the average duration of life of such factory hands only reaches thirty-eight years. Doubtless the lightness of the occupation encourages many to seek employment in these factories whose state of health would debar them from obtaining work under more trying circumstances. Some of the conditions under which cigars and cigarettes are made, such as the workers using their saliva to facilitate the rolling of them and fixing of the leaves, and the testing of the “ drawing” properties of a cigar by placing it in the mouth, with the facilities offered for the dissemination of dried tuberculous sputum as dust, contribute to make it highly probable that tobacco as it leaves the factory may contain the germs of consumption.
Before leaving the subject of tobacco and disease germs it may be of interest to inquire what justification in fact there is for the practice adopted by anxious mothers, when travelling in times of epidemics of zymotic disease, of thrusting themselves and their children into the sanctum of the other sex-the smoking compartment of a railway carriage. I have frequently seen this done, despite the voluble protests of its legitimate occupants. Tassinari has made some very interesting experiments on the effect of tobacco smoke on the vitality of various descriptions of disease germs. He constructed an apparatus in which he suspended pieces of linen soaked in broth infected with the particular micro-organism to be tested. Tobacco smoke was then admitted, and the microbes were retained in this stilling atmosphere for half an hour. In these surroundings cholera and typhoid germs were destroyed, and other bacteria, such as the anthrax bacillus and the pneumonia bacillus, were so prejudicially affected, that when subsequently transferred to their normal surroundings it was only with extreme difficulty that they could be revived. When, however, the tobacco smoke was made to pass through water before reaching the bacteria, its pernicious influence was entirely removed, and the latter suffered no detriment. Hence the practice, so often seen in the East, of passing tobacco smoke through rose or other perfumed water before inhaling it, whilst doubtless rendering it less noxious to the smoker, deprives the exhaled tobacco fumes of all their bactericidal or disinfecting properties.
To return, however, after this somewhat lengthy digression, to the question of dust and its bacterial properties, we have learnt enough to enable us to realise that the movement for the migration of the working-classes from crowded streets to rural districts, in which Mr. George Cadbury has played so practical and important a part in the creation of
his model village, with its gardens and open spaces, some five miles from the city of Birmingham, is, if only bacterially considered, a very real barrier against the dissemination of disease, for the denser the population, the greater will be the crowd of bacteria, and the greater the chance of pathogenic varieties being present amongst them. Again, we know that sunshine is one of the most potent germicides with which nature has provided us ;* and it requires no effort of the imagination to realise how, in the gloomy back courts and crowded tenements of our great smoke-laden cities, bacteria succeed in obtaining a firm hold on their surroundings, and, in the shape of spores, attaining an undesirable and hoary old age, in which they are in some cases almost indestructible. Fräulein Dr. E. Concornotti has shown that this is no figment of fancy only, for she has recently made a special and very elaborate study of the distribution of pathogenic or disease bacteria in air, searching for them in the most varied surroundings, such as prisons, schools, casual wards, etc., with the result that, out of forty-six experiments in which the character of the bacteria found was tested by inoculation into animals, thirtytwo yielded organisms which were pathogenic. Dr. Concornotti concludes her valuable memoir by stating that her investigations proved con
* See “Sunshine and Life.”
clusively that the dirtier or more slumlike the surroundings, the greater was the frequency with which she found bacteria associated with disease in the air.
Messrs. Valenti and Terrari-Lelli have quite recently been able fully to endorse these statements in the results they have obtained in their systematic study of the bacterial contents of the air in the city of Modena. In their report they state that the narrower and more crowded the streets, the greater was the number of bacteria present in the air, and the more frequently did they meet with varieties associated with septic disease.
Numerous detailed investigations have also been made of the bacterial contents of the dust in hospitals. That cases of infection arising within hospital precincts are of no uncommon occurrence may be gathered from the observations made by Lutand and Hogg, who report no fewer than 2,294 such cases having arisen in the space of six years in certain Paris hospitals, whilst Solowjew records 1,880 cases as occurring in the space of four and a half months in the St. Petersburg city hospital. Solowjew made a special study of the bacterial contents of dust collected in hospitals, and states that 418 per cent. of the samples examined contained disease germs. The degree of infection possessed by dust in such surroundings must, of course, depend upon the degree of cleanliness which characterises the management of any particular institution; and such investigations as the above can only help to emphasise the immense importance of common cleanliness and the reasonableness of taking every precaution possible in the disinfection of utensils, etc.
Some years ago Messrs. Carnelley, Haldane, and Anderson carried out an elaborate series of investigations on the air of dwelling-houses in some of the poorest parts of Dundee. The samples were taken during the night, between 12.30 a.m. and 4.30 a.m., and in their report the authors state that the one-roomed tenements were mostly those of the very poor ; “sometimes as many as six or even eight persons occupied the one bed," whilst in other cases there was no bed at all. As regards the number of bacteria present in the air in these one-roomed houses, an average of several examinations amounted to sixty per quart; in two-roomed houses it was reduced to forty-six, and in houses of four rooms and upwards only nine micro-organisms in the same volume of air were discovered.
On comparing the mortality statistics with the composition of the air of dwelling-houses of different dimensions, the authors arrive at the