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January 29, 1919: Plague Invades New South Wales.

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The Armidale Chronicle, Wednesday, 29 January, 1919

State Declared Infected.

Precautions for Armidale People.

The Board of Health has finally received that pneumonic influenza has obtained a footing in New South Wales. The State is to be declared infected. The cases upon which this decision is based are those of several soldiers who came from Melbourne. These are ill at Randwick Hospital.

Theatres, picture shows, and places of indoor resort in the metropolitan area are to be closed from today. There are now 47 cases in the Melbourne Hospital. Some are serious. There are more than 60 inmates in the Base Hospital in St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, some in a dangerous condition.

There were five deaths in Melbourne on Sunday. The disease has been in Melbourne since January 9.


Immediately there was danger of the influenza epidemic passing the quarantine barrier and spreading into the country districts, the Armidale City Council decided upon precautionary measures. These include the immediate procuration of a supply of vaccine for inoculation against Spanish influenza, from the Board of Public Health. The Town Hall will be used as a place for public vaccination. All inoculations will be FREE, if desired. As soon as the vaccine arrives, the depot will be opened at the Town Hall, between 3 and 6 p.m. The local doctors are giving their services, and the date of opening of the depot, and days upon which the doctors will be in attendance, will be notified as soon as the vaccine arrives.


The local authorities are desirous that panic should be avoided. They wish us to state that there is no cause for anything in the nature of hysteria or undue terror at present. All that should be done is to be sure that no precautionary measure is neglected. The utmost endeavour will be made in Armidale to check any outbreak in the event of the disease getting beyond the quarantine barrier.



The following article was obtained by the “Chronicle” from an authoritative medical source:—

Infectious diseases are caused by living micro-organisms, or microbes which, when introduced into the body, cause a series of phenomena to develop, the most important of which, due to the growth and multiplication of these organisms in the tissues of the blood of the affected person, is fever. Microbes are found everywhere in nature: in air, earth, water, food, and within and without our bodies. They operate in curious ways and in diverse places, conservatively and destructively, and are both the friend and the foe of man. They are the prime cause of all the infectious and contagious diseases of man and, the lower animals. They require to be magnified by the microscope from 800 to 1500 times before we can understand how they grow and what they are like. A fair average size of a microbe measures 1/20,000th part of an inch, and it has been calculated that four hundred millions of them might be comfortably accommodated side by side on one square inch of surface.

How Diseases Spread. It is by infective material that diseases spread. It may be borne by the air or carried upon clothing or other media. So long as they are in contact with moisture, microbes are held in retention and cannot be liberated into the atmosphere until the dampness is dispelled. Aerial diffusion is, therefore, only possible in the case of dried microbes or spores. Infective material cannot penetrate any interposing barrier, even of paper, and much less through walls and doors. The length of time after infective material has left the body of an infected person during which it is capable of doing mischief, is largely determined by its environment. Abundance of fresh air and sunlight quickly destroy it; absence of these tend to keep it alive—hence microbes are most plentiful in the dust of the darkest corners.

Some infectious diseases are more prevalent at certain seasons of the year. Influenza appears to be uninfluenced by seasons. It spreads with as much facility in Iceland as at the equator, and knows no boundaries. I have seen it stated to be coincident with a disease called Pink Eye in horses, which veterinary surgeons believe to be influenza in horses.

The incubation period of influenza is from one to four days. A person suffering from an infectious disease is infective in influenza for about ten days after all symptoms have disappeared.

The means by which infection may be transported are as follows: 1. By direct contact with the infective person, hence called contagion. 2. By contact with anything that has been in contact with the infective person, or which proceeds from the apartment in which he has been treated. 3. By intercommunication between infected animals and man. Transportation by insects as mosquitoes or flies. 5. In water and food. 6. By the air.

Visitation to the houses of the infective sick, or the wilful exposure of children to others who are suffering from a mild type of the disease; in the erroneous assumption that all children must sooner or later contract the disease, and the sooner it is over and of a mild type the better, is chiefly to blame for the spread of infectious disease. There is no guarantee that exposure to a mild type of the disease will be followed by an equally mild seizure in the exposed child, for it is a common experience that children even of the same family do not contract attacks of equal severity.

The clothing, school slates, books, and toys of the infective person may act as vehicles of infection. While the clothing may be disinfected, it is always safer to consign to the flames such books and toys as are admitted to the sick room.

Infective diseases can be.contracted by partaking of infected water or food. For germs to be air borne, they can only be carried in a dried condition.

Infective material enters the body through an abrasion on the skin, through being inhaled, by absorption through the digestive organs.

Fumigation. To fumigate the room after an illness, close the doors, windows, and fireplaces; and paste paper over all cracks. Put some sulphur in iron pans, allowing two pounds for every 1000 cubic feet of space. Set the pans in larger pans of water, and these on bricks so as not to burn the floor. Pour a little alcohol on the sulphur and light it, leave the room quickly and paste up the door like the others. Keep it closed for 24 hours, then open all doors and windows. The sulphur will fumigate more thoroughly if the walls and ceilings are moistened beforehand. Instead of sulphur, you may use formalin — you can burn candles of such in the room. To disinfect clothing, boiling in water for 20 minutes is one of the best methods of disinfection. It is wiser to destroy the mattress.

The microbes are grown in a culture tube; the tube is inserted in to an incubator and the microbes grow on this culture media. They are then washed off with a little salt solution into another tube and stirred well round. They are then heated so as to kill the microbes. The contents of the tube are then mixed with some other substance and we inject this vaccine, as it is called, and which consists of millions of dead organisms into a person who has not got the disease, in order to immunize him against the disease, or into a patient with the disease to enable him to form sufficient antitoxin to recover. It must be clearly understood that this cannot produce the disease or cause any permanent ill effect. It has been proved that this helps the patient to recover from the disease.

This disease is not the ordinary influenza, but an epidemic form of pneumonia. and a severe one at that, characterised by septic symptoms.

The Micrococcus Catarrhalis is the organism which gives rise to common colds. The Pneumococcus causes pneumonia, and the Streptococcus is the organism which you find in cases of blood poisoning. These organisms, together with the influenza bacillus, are responsible for the present epidemic.

The onset is sudden, a rigor is soon followed by a high fever, reddening and running from the eyes, pains and aches all over the body, and general prostration. The secretion from the nose, throat, and air passages form the sources of infection. There is the frequent complication of pneumonia.

Now if you want to be injected with the vaccine, you will have injected into you of: Mic Catarrhalis 25 millions, Pneumococcus 10 millions, Streptococcus 10 millions, a gram positive Diploc 10 millions; followed by another injection containing of: Mic Catarrhalis 125 millions, Pneumococcus 60 millions, Streptococcus 50 millions, a gram posit Diplococ 50 millions. And then you probably won’t contract the infection, or if you do, you get it in a modified form. After the injection you would feel a little uncomfortable, but not quite so uncomfortable as if you contracted the complaint.

Written by macalba

March 3, 2020 at 4:22 pm

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