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Vaccination. (Founded on the above.)
In the summer of 1905, whilst passing through San Antonio, Texas, the writer was suffering from a simple ailment that needed medical relief; consequently he enquired as to the name and location of the leading physician of the city, and was directed to Dr. Campbell. After the medical attention was given, the Doctor and the writer drifted into a friendly discourse and discovered in the course of conversation that they possessed many tastes in common, but especially a love for scientific investigation and research. At this meeting there was formed between them a firm friendship that has endured ever since.
Meeting for a while once every few years and of late once or twice a year, and by a somewhat irregular correspondence, the writer has been able to follow closely the Doctor's important investigations; and it is really due to his suggestion and oft-reiterated requests that the preparation of this book was undertaken and brought to a conclusion. The writer has long felt that the results of all of his friend's wonderful and intensely interesting nature-studies should be brought to the attention of not only the medical profession throughout the world but also of all those intelligent, thinking people who are interested in the works of nature and in the methods of utilizing them for the benefit of mankind. For this reason the writer advised that the subjects of the book, while being treated from a truly scientific standpoint, should be handled in a semi-popular style, in order to catch and hold the interest of the intelligent layman; and a perusal of the manuscript has shown the writer that his advice has been closely followed in a most successful manner.
At their first meeting the Doctor told the writer in close detail about his experiments on bedbugs and smallpox, and then-and-there converted him to a belief in the theory of their connection. The writer, recalling some of his personal experiences, stated that French Canadians are much afflicted with smallpox and that most of their houses are over-run with bedbugsalso that the Canadian Indians are great sufferers from that dread disease, which has often been picked up by going into their abandoned tepees or huts. This is so well known in the Canadian wilds that such old habitations are avoided with dread and passed with a shudder. Old discarded clothing has long been recognized as a carrier of contagion, although nobody in Canada had ever dreamed of the transmission of the disease being due to insects, in spite of the fact that such abandoned huts and clothing were known to contain bedbugs. The writer has seen lumbering shanties, both occupied and deserted, swarming with bedbugs and fleas in truth, it was never safe in Canada to enter them, if one dreaded the contact of such filthy and pestiferous insects.
Dr. Campbell told the writer of his ardent desire to go to Mexico, in order to experiment upon jail-birds, who would be only too happy to lend themselves to the cause of science, provided they were given their liberty after the investigations were finished. It seems that there is no law in Mexico to prevent the making of experiments that would jeopardize the lives or healths of human beings, but that in our country there is such a lawand a stringent one.
All that Dr. Campbell then needed for his proposed investigation was the pitifully small sum of twelve thousand dollars. The writer gladly promised his aid in securing that amount from some rich American philanthropist or from some established fund for research; and during several years he did his level best to keep that promise, but all his endeavors were unsuccessful. The fund moneys appeared to be so tied up with red tape that they could not be utilized for outside purposes; and the millionaires did not care to spend their dearly loved dollars for any such philanthropic purpose. The writer must have made at least a dozen distinctly different attempts to raise this money. Once he had great hope of success, because the individual approached was a Texan who had inherited considerable wealth and had much more money than he knew how to spend. In spite of all the writer's eloquence and his demonstration of the undying fame that would accrue to the donor of such a fund, he was curtly told "nothing doing," thus proving the said Texan to be as effective a "tight-wad" as had notorously been his sainted parent.
However, the Doctor was not in the least disheartenedquite the contrary. This failure to procure for him financial aid only sharpened his dogged pertinacity; and, notwithstanding the burden and care of a family to be met by the lucrative (?) occupation of practising medicine for a living, he has never swerved from the goal he had set for himself, viz., aiding humanity by the results of his numerous and varied experiments on insect-borne diseases and how to combat them. This is proved by the success of his monumental work in relation to the prevention of malaria by the extermination of the malaria-bearing mosquito through the propagation of its natural enemy, the bat. This work he accomplished unaided, single-handed, and under most trying conditions; and, in no uncertain terms, it testifies to his great value and places him in the front rank with the world's leading scientists.
The writer has not yet given up all hope of seeing these bedbug experiments carried out in Mexico, because the conditions there today are just as favorable for the purpose as they ever were. It may be that the publication in book form of the wonderful results of Dr. Campbell's life-work will induce some rich man or woman to offer the necessary money for the prosecution of the good cause.
Such a person, though, would have to be of a different temperament and caliber from those of one of the directors of the Rockefeller Institute, who, when approached by Dr. Campbell himself with a request for this money, held up his hands in holy horror and exclaimed ''What! Furnish you with money to experiment upon human beings! What do you think the American people would say, were I to do such a thing as that?"
Some seven years after his first meeting with Dr. Campbell, the writer read in a scientific paper that a Russian scientist, whose name has escaped his memory, had, independently without doubt, made the same discovery as did Dr. Campbell in relation to the connection between bedbugs and smallpox. Curiously enough, although the fact of such a relation has been mentioned several times in the press, very few members of the medical profession appear to have heard anything about it. This has repeatedly been made evident to the writer during conversations with medical men.
In the writer's opinion, Dr. Campbell has proved beyond the peradventure of a doubt that smallpox is transmitted in one way onlyby the bite of an infected bedbug, or possibly in rare cases by that of another blood-sucking insect, the "chinche volante." Such being the case, is it any longer necessary to continue that most objectionable practice, vaccination? While the great mass of humanity may have been benefited by that practice, many individuals have suffered greatly and even died from the poisons vaccine sometimes introduces into the blood. The writer has long felt that he would far rather risk catching the smallpox than undermining his health by taking into his system a poison that might have much worse effects than those of la petite vérole.
Mr. President and Members of the
There must be some motive for a member of the same professional household to keep in the background such a work as I am about to present for your consideration this evening. This motive is that I hoped some avenue might present itself permitting me to continue the work to the point of carrying out further experiments to such a degree of scientific certainty as would place it beyond the possibility of contradiction. It was my ambition to go into Mexico, where, with knowledge of the language and customs of the people, I could have obtained the cooperation of the "powers that be," and of the medical profession, and could there have completed the investigation. There never was a doubt in mind that I could have had this cooperation, as it was freely offered to me from that country, but the lack of finance was the insuperable barrier.
As it is now my intention to publish this work, though I do not know when or where, I desire out of respect to my home professional brothers and home society to present it to you first.
The work of the Eradication of Malaria by the Cultivation of Bats, The Mosquitoes' Natural Enemy and Destroyer, on which I have been engaged, as you are all aware, for the past twenty years, is more important and far-reaching in its benefits to mankind than this work, and I purpose for the rest of my days to concentrate all of my energies, spare time, and money on the continued studies of that most benevolent, though misunderstood creature, the common bat.
I desire to return thanks before this Society to my good friend, Dr. W. L. Barker, who, appreciating my endeavors, had me placed in charge of the Pest House, where I found opportunities of pursuing this research on smallpox, which I could not have had without his kindly intervention. I also owe my thanks to Mr. Thomas Patino, my head nurse, who is a highly valued employee and most kind and sympathetic to the unfortunates under his care.
The papers in the order of their presentation are, "Résumé of Experiments on Variola," "My Observations of Bed Bugs," and Dr. John Watts' valuable work and observations on this disease, which he presents under the caption of "Eradication of Smallpox without Vaccination or Disinfection." The author made Dr. Watts thoroughly acquainted with the result of his smallpox-bedbug investigation, on account of the Doctor's going to locate in Mexico, where the disease is so common, and requested him to continue the work in that country, on the lines indicated in the above mentioned papers. How well he carried on the investigation his paper will tell.
Some years ago, while travelling in Mexico, I learned that the Mexican mothers of the lower classes find a great deal of consolation when their children have had the smallpox. They regard it as inevitable; and, in order to get through with this trouble as soon as possible, they place the well children upon the same bed as the one having the smallpox, so that they may become infected with the disease.
I was also told by these lowly people that those who sleep on the outside of the houses, upon nothing more, perhaps, than a sheep's skin or raw hide cot or bed, usually escape the diseasehence the mother places the children who are well upon the same bed with the sick ones. This information was kept in mind by me until I had occasion to see a few cases in the City of San Antonio, Texas. In considering this malady, I quickly became impressed with two distinctive peculiarities of it, viz: Its being a disease of the winter and of the coldest climates, and that, as a rule, it is confined to the lower or filthy classes.
Having followed very closely the current literature concerning the brilliant work done by Drs. Reed, Carroll, and Agramonte in yellow fever, the above peculiarities caused me hypothetically to ascribe to the bedbug the quality of being the diffusing agent of variola. (As to the bedbug's power of resistance to intense cold, water, and starvation, see my "Observation on Bedbugs.")
Assuming that bedbugs are the only diffusing agents of this loathsome disease, then our present knowledge of its being "air-borne," or of its being transmitted by fomites, must be all wrong, therefore the principal work here mentioned is the demonstration of its non-contagiousness by means of clothing, bedding, hangingsin short, fomites.
I then began to experiment with this disease directly by contact and to expose some person to it who had not had it. I selected as this person one whose movements I could at all times control and understand, and, therefore, I chose myself. As even the air itself, without contact, is considered sufficient to convey this disease, and touching the clothes of a smallpox patient considered equivalent to contracting it, I exposed myself with the same impunity as my pest-house keeper, who is immune, having had the smallpox. After numerous exposures, made in the ordinary manner, by going from house to house where the disease was and demanding, under legal authority, the removal of the patients, as well as members of the family, to the pest house, I have never conveyed this disease to my family, or to any of my patients or friends, although I did not disinfect myself or my clothes nor take any precautions whatever, except to be sure that no bedbugs got about my clothing.
Another one of my experiments was thoroughly to beat a rug in a room, only eight or ten feet square, from which had just been removed a smallpox patient. This rug had been given to the negro family in question by a white person after his family had utilized it until it was useless for them, and thereafter it had been used for years by the said negro family. I beat this rug in the room until the air was stifling, and remained therein for thirty minutes. This represented the respiratory as well as the digestive systems as accepted avenues of infection. While I was exposing my person to this experiment of inhaling particles of organic, as well as micro-organic, matter, I never lost sight of the fact that I was engaged in trifling with the system of knowledge which had been handed down from generation to generation, each one accepting as true what the preceding one had written. I also remembered that, if such men as composed the scientific expedition to Cuba for the investigation of yellow fever had adhered to the old-time and accepted theories that bedding, carpets, clothing, hangingsin short fomiteswere the conveyors of yellow fever, we would not now have the knowledge which these gentlemen so nobly acquired and generously gave to the public in the interest of mankind, consequently I continued my experiments. After inhaling the dust from that rug, I examined my sputum microscopically the following morning and found cotton and woolen fibres, pollen, and comminuted manure, as also bacteria of many kinds.
Convinced that I had given my respiratory and digestive systems ample opportunities to afford avenues of infection, from that time on I mingled freely with my family, patients, and friends; but, for the first fourteen days after the experiment of beating the rug and inhaling the dust, I slept in my office for fear of conveying the disease to my family.
The next experiment was the exposure of two city carpenters, two laborers, and myself. Three of these men had never been vaccinated, and the fourth only in infancy. This experiment consisted in tearing down an old privy at the detention camp or pest house, which privy had been used four or five years by smallpox patients only. It was constructed of 1 x 12 inch slats and boards. With hatchets and levers the old structure was soon razed; and the foul-smelling lumber was carried by each of us a distance of one hundred yards and neatly re-constructed.
As the day was very hot and our water supply some distance from the work, I placed a bucket of water about ten feet from the work and in such a direction with the wind that the dust from the sawing and nailing of the old boards would fall into the water. Of course, the laborers did not observe my object in so doing, and they and myself all drank freely of the water till noon. After dinner all of us worked on that foul-smelling structure and drank of that same water till evening, when the work was completed. None of us ever felt any bad effects from our exposure. I had these men under my observation for fourteen days after this experiment.
In five instances where the disease made its appearance in the homes of negro washerwomen, I found two and three weeks' washing laundered and ready to be delivered to the owners. It is a matter of common knowledge that negro washerwomen, when ironing clothes, place them upon beds to keep them from becoming wrinkled, and these articles of clothing, when discovered in an infected house, are generally burned by the health authorities, the owners being reimbursed from public funds; but in each of the above instances I took the clothes to the pest-house grounds, and, spreading them upon the grass, I carefully searched each piece of clothing for bugs. Not being able to find any bedbugs on any piece, I returned all the clothing to the owners without any disinfection whatever. These clothes did not convey the disease to anyone.
Anita H., a Mexican child, four years of age, never vaccinated and who had never had the disease, was taken to the pest house, where she took a baby out of the crib and played with it about four hours, hugging and kissing it and riding it in a perambulator around the grounds; but, although this baby was covered with pustules of smallpox, and although we took no precautions whatever (the girl's mother having agreed to this experiment), the girl did not acquire the disease.
J. C., brought to the pest house in a vesicular stage, made an uneventful recovery after passing through the typical states. In this case I caused the bed clothes of his bed to be undisturbed when he recovered. This same bed, without any change in the bed clothes, was then occupied by L. M. This individual had never been vaccinated nor had smallpox, and understood that he occupied this bed as an experiment. He did not acquire the disease.
P. H., a Mexican, vaccinated in infancy, who freely mingled with the smallpox patients in the discharge of his duties as night watchman at the pest house, keeping up the fires and remaining all night, did not contract the disease.
A. C., decidedly strumous, never vaccinated nor had the smallpox, freely mingled with smallpox patients in all of the stages, playing cards with them, eating and sleeping in the infected tents, and has continued to do so for more than two years.
Mrs. T. P., wife of the Pest-House keeper, aged 26, vaccinated in infancy, acts as nurse and cook and freely mingles with the female patients.
Master E. P., and sister, aged respectively eleven and nine, the former vaccinated nine years ago, the latter unsuccessfully, play with children in all of the stages of smallpox and play with the toys of the little patients, without the least harm.
Personally, I have not only come into direct contact with smallpox patients many times, but have taken off and rubbed my outer clothes on the beds of the patients and then returned to the city and mingled freely with my family, friends, and patients, without disinfecting at all.
In one instance, which I believe is worthy of special mention, a man, his wife, and four children were here, and three of these children became infected with the smallpox. I took all of them to the Pest House, and as all of them preferred to stay in one room, I placed them together. The man and his wife had previously had the disease, and only one child escaped it. I kept them at the Pest House until the eighteenth day after the period of desquamation on the part of the case developing last. They were returned home upon a Saturday morning. Observe that this child, although living in the same room with the patients at the Pest House, had not acquired the smallpox, after being exposed to it all of the time for a period of six weeks; yet upon the fifth day after returning home, this child acquired the initial fever. I then examined their house and found it to be literally alive with bedbugs.
In addition to these experiments, it should be remembered that I had at the Pest House half a dozen employes, who washed, scrubbed tents, etc., and these persons were employed by me especially because they were non-immuneand yet none of them ever contracted the disease.
Among some of the cases coming under my observation and care, which did not originate here, is the following: The patient, a girl of eleven years, had a fairly-developed case, and was at one of our hotels. I took this patient and her father and mother to the Pest House, in the meantime locking the door of the room at the hotel and leaving orders that no one be allowed to enter it until my return. This room had been occupied two days and nights by the patient. Upon my return I carefully inspected the bed and the en-
tire room, particularly the walls and ceiling, and not finding any bedbugs, I told the hotel proprietor that the room was again all right; and it was from that time on occupied. All of the occupants were kept under careful observation, but not a case developed in any of the persons occupying the room.
Another case was that of a little girl who was seized by the disease in Mexico about eight hours before reaching San Antonio. This little patient's family consisted of her father, mother, and little brother, eight years old. I took them all (under protest) to the Pest House. The man I allowed to leave and go to the city and return, as he pleased; and, with my consent, he procured a horse and buggy from a livery stable and took his wife riding every day. At night they went to the theatre, returning to the Pest House to sleep. He also bought a doll for the little girl; and she played with it, being at the time thoroughly covered with smallpox. She made a dress for this doll, slept with it at night, kissed it, and played with it continually, until about the fourth day, when she became displeased with it; and after some consultation, her father returned it to the store where it was purchased, and exchanged it for a larger doll. The clerk from whom the purchase was made was kept under secret observation for a long time, but nothing developed from the exchange.
A woman, returning from Mexico, stopped over in Eagle Pass to rest, as the "small of her back was nearly breaking in two;" she placed a plaster on her back to obtain relief, resuming her journey the next day. A day or two after her arrival in San Antonio she developed smallpox and was taken to the Pest House. The day being cold and the Pest House some distance from her room, she sent out and bought a fine blanket to cover herself on the road, using it as a shawl. On arriving at the Pest House, the room being nicely heated, she took the blanket off, placed it on a chair, and got into bed. One of the attendants overheard the keeper's wife ask her husband to bring her from the city a new blanket for their new baby, three weeks old. When he left the Pest House to get this patient, thinking the new blanket was the one intended for the new baby, he folded it up and brought it to the keeper's wife, who proceeded to wrap up her baby snugly in it. The mistake was not discovered for one weekyet the baby did not acquire the disease.
In the case of the woman, it is curious to note that the area of skin covered by the plaster already referred to, which had been left on the patient's back, was not attacked by the disease, the underlying skin remaining perfectly normal, although there was not a half inch square on her body that was not marked by the disease.
After making a great many of those experiments at the Pest House(it may be well to say that I had previously destroyed all the bedbugs)I procured a large flag-pole, with a large yellow flag, and made the occasion of the planting of the pole and the flag-raising a little feast-afternoon, with a banquet, to which were invited the City Council and the officers of the City Government. Liquid and solid refreshments were served, speech-making was indulged in, laudatory of the experiments, by some of the aldermen and other officials present, who knew well of the work I was doing. Evidently they must have had some faith in it, when they so gladly came to a Pest House (and almost in direct contact with smallpox patients) to attend a banquet and honor me by their presence. Some eighteen or twenty attended and remained two or three hours; one alderman in particular, who had never been vaccinated or had the disease, came in direct contact with a patient whose body was covered with the characteristic eruptions.
The most important observation on the medical aspect of this disease is the cachexia with which it is invariably associated and which is actually the soil requisite for its different degrees of virulence. I refer to the scorbutic cachexia. Among the lower classes of people this particular acquired constitutional perversion of nutrition is most prevalent, primarily on account of their poverty, but also because of the fact that they care little or nothing for fruits or vegetables. That a most intimate connection exists between variola and scorbutus is evidenced by the fact that it is most prevalent among the poor or filthy class of people ; that it is more prevalent in winter, when the antiscorbutics are scarce and high priced; and, finally, that the removal of this perversion of nutrition will so mitigate the virulence of this malady as positively to prevent the pitting or pocking of smallpox.
A failure of the fruit crop in any particularly large area is always followed the succeeding winter by the presence of smallpox. My experience is limited, to eighty-eight cases of that disease in the Pest-House, and my attention has constantly been directed to the establishing of the fact of the non-contagiousness of fomites and to the prevention of the pitting or pocking by the malady. That the pitting or pocking can be positively prevented I am absolutely certain, for in the above number of cases I had only one patient who became pocked and this was done intentionally. In all of the cases of smallpox that have originated here I have always found bedbugs; and where patients suffering with this disease were brought here and placed in premises free from these vermin, the disease did not spread to persons living with the patient. This has occurred in many cases, and in all stages of the disease.
The discovery in the year 1880, by Lavaran, that malaria is communicated to the human race by means of the Anophele mosquito; the discovery in 1894, by Kitasato, of the plague bacillus, and, later, that it could be transmitted by fleas; the brilliant work done by Drs. Reed, Carroll, and Agramonte, and by Professor Guiteras, demonstrating that yellow fever is communicated by the Stegomyia fasciata mosquito, have resulted in a most careful and exhaustive examination into the nature and habits of other insects with reference to the probability or possibility that other diseases (the manner of whose transmission has not yet been conclusively determined) may be communicated to the human race by such insects.
Believing that a close relationship existed between variola and bedbugs, I began in the year 1900 to study the nature and habits of the bedbug, and I am now of the firm opinion that I have established this particular insect as being the diffusing agent of smallpox.
The bedbug seems to be of a very ancient origin, as I find that it was supposed by the ancient Romans to have medicinal properties, this having been mentioned by Pliny; but I have been unable to find that it was ever known to exist among the Aztecs or the North American Indians or upon any portion of the Western Hemisphere until the advent of the white man. The Romans gave it the name "Cimex Lectularius""cimex" meaning a bug, and "lectularius" being simply an adjective, pertaining to a bed or couch.
The bedbug is now such a common insect as to be known to all the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere, if not of the whole civilized world; and in different parts of the country it is called by different namesfor instance, in the State of New York bedbugs are styled "red coats," and they are also called by their ordinary name of bedbugs; in Boston they are generally termed "chinches," or "chintzes;" and in Baltimore they are known by the appellation "mahogany flats." In early English times the common name was "wall louse.''
It seems to be reasonably certain that in very ancient times bedbugs were winged insects, and that they flew about from place to place, and even at the present day they retain rudimentary pads, which it is believed, were originally a part of the wings of the insect. It is also believed that as this insect became more and more closely associated with the human race the necessity for its flying about to obtain its food became less and less, until it gradually lost this means of locomotion.
The bedbug, however, has not lost one of its chief characteristics, viz: its distinct and disagreeable odor, so well known to those that are familiar with it as the "buggy" odor. This peculiar odor is not confined to the bedbug only a great number of bugs of even different and distinct species possess it; and it is regarded as a means of protection to them against their natural enemies, because it renders them distasteful and obnoxious. Now, the bedbug has none of the enemies any of the other bugs have, viz: insectivorous birdsand its odor is really a detriment to it instead of an advantage, as this odor often leads to its detection. From this it can be deduced that the odor having persisted through the changes already mentioned, extending over centuries of time, the bug still retains it for protection against microbic activities, as doubtless the said odor is due to some antiseptic ether or organic acid.
The hairs which cover the body of this insect are most peculiar from the fact that their ends terminate in two-pronged forks, and when annoyed or teased in the cracks which they inhabit bedbugs will invariably turn around with their backs towards you, so as better to protect themselves from being drawn from the crevices in which they may be located, as each hair presents a distinct anchor, and particularly as against the long feelers of the common cockroach, and also as against the tugging of another one of its most formidable enemies, the little red ant.
The eggs of the bedbug hatch on the seventh or eighth day after being laid, and, if carefully observed, it will be noticed that, within from two to three days before hatching, two bright scarlet spots will appear on the inside and on the exit end of the egg when viable. If these spots do not appear, the egg is not viable. Gasoline, which is so effective in destroying bedbugs, will not destroy their eggs; and, to the chagrin of the careful housekeeper, a new and full-size crop of bugs is again in possession of the bed within a few days after using gasoline. This is readily accounted for by the fact that the eggs can be soaked in gasoline and yet not lose their viability.
In order to make sure of their destruction, I believe that the application of a saturated alcoholic solution of corrosive sublimate, used with constant vigilance, will do the work, as this solution not only kills the adult insects but, by combining with the albumen of the egg, renders the latter sterile.
The ability of these insects to live for a very long time without food of any kind is remarkable. Careful observers have stated that, of their own personal knowledge, houses which have been empty for eighteen months at a time, when again inhabited by people have been found to be so full of these insects as to be untenantable. I have made experiments which convince me of the truth of this assertionalthough the experiments did not run for such a great length of time. I once put a bedstead containing many of these insects into a room by itself, and placed each one of its legs in a can partially filled with kerosene, so as to prevent their escape. After keeping the bedstead locked up in the room for four months, the insects were found in apparently the same condition as they were before the experiment was started.
The ability of bedbugs to remain under water for an indefinite time is also established by the following experiment : I first took a pole about seven feet long, and putting a number of these bugs on one end of it, I placed this end almost at the bottom of a tank containing about five feet of water; immediately the bugs began crawling through the water and up the pole; I then changed ends and reversed the operation, submerging the bugs on top of the pole again in the water, and I continued this operation for five hours without intermissionbut to all appearances the bugs were not in the least injured, notwithstanding the fact that, in addition to the submersion, they had travelled a distance of nearly 550 yards.
On another occasion I took some bugs and placed them in a glass receiver, the outlet of which was covered with a piece of gauze. The inlet of the receiver was then placed over a faucet of hydrant water; the water was turned on and permitted to run for five hours; the current of the water forced the bugs against the gauze covering the outlet, and they were thus continuously submerged for that length of time; but, as soon as the stream was turned off and the water removed, the insects showed that they had suffered no injury or inconvenience from the submersion.
One of the characteristics of the bedbug is its cannibalistic nature. It has seven horny bands, which constitute its abdominal cavity, and when it is not engorged these bands lie close together. When, however, it has fed and is thoroughly engorged, it presents a thin membrane connecting these bands, something on the order of an inflated bellows. It is this thin membrane that is pierced by their young, and also by the stronger bugs. Doubtless this characteristic, more than anything else, has served it so admirably in retaining its existence and activity in association with its unwilling host.
One of the most remarkable things in connection with this insect is its powers of resistance to cold. In connection with other investigations I made, in which I believed this parasite was destined to play an important part, it became necessary, in my opinion to determine if these insects could resist a very low degree of temperature, and for a long time, without injury. I, therefore, procured a hermetically sealed glass fruit jar, holding a quart. I then cut round pieces out of a woolen blanket to fit loosely the inner diameter of the jar, and placed a number of these pieces in the jar, together with some three dozen bedbugs, alternating the discs of blanket and the bugs. After sealing the jar so as to exclude water, I suspended it in one of the brine tanks used for making ice at one of our ice factories; and in a short time the jar was tightly frozen in a two-hundred pound cake of ice. This cake was allowed to remain in the brine tank, where the temperature is only 14 degrees above zero, and the cake stayed as when first frozen for a period of 244 hours. At the expiration of that time, after melting the ice and removing and opening the jar, the insects were found to be in as good condition as when originally placed therein.
The cunning of these insects is most remarkable, and it appears that they have, to a certain extent, the power of reasoning. An example of this kind was given me by Mr. N. P. Wright of San Antonio, a very reliable citizen and close observer. He is ready to make affidavit to the story, which runs as follows: At one time he had all the furniture in his house packed up, except a cot left in one room upon which to sleep, as all of his family were absent on a visit. This cot was placed about one foot from the wall of the room; and, while lying on the cot, he happened to observe a bedbug slowly crawling up on the wall; out of curiosity he watched its movements, and was much surprised to see that when the insect was about four or five feet from the floor this being about two feet higher than the cotit apparently sprang from the side of the wall and fell upon the cot. He killed this bug, and thinking that it was merely a coincidence that it should have so accurately alighted upon the cot, he moved the latter another foot away from the side of the wall and resumed his position upon it. After a while he observed another bug crawling up the wall, having come from the base-board. He watched it carefully and noticed that this bug did the same as the other, only that it went up the wall about two feet higher than the first one, and then, with the same kind of a jump as the former bug made, leaped from the wall and fell upon the cot. Mr. Wright continued this experiment, moving his cot gradually away from the Wall each time until it was in the middle of the room, or about ten feet from the wall. On this last occasion one of the bugs crawled up the wall until it got nearly to the ceiling, then gave a jump, floating out like a flying squirrel or aeroplane, and landed upon the cot precisely as did the first bug. This would seem to indicate that bedbugs possess almost human intelligence.
The power of migration of bedbugs is wonderful. I have made experiments at the Old City Hospital (replaced now by the K. B. Green Memorial Hospital) and have positively demonstrated that they will travel the full length of a large ward, and go from bed to bed when these are occupied. I demonstrated this by catching a few bugs and making a tiny mark on each of their backs with an adhesive mixture of balsam fir and flake white, thus marking them distinctly. I then placed them in an unoccupied cot at one end of the ward in the evening, and the next morning discovered them in an occupied cot at the other end of the ward.
Nothing gives the sleeping-car companies more concern than this noxious insect. Here in San Antonio, when a car is being supplied with clean linen, and the used linen is found to be blood-stained, the telltale "buggy" odor leads to an immediate war against bedbugs, and the car is marked for another crusade in seven days, the officials knowing that another crop of bugs can be depended upon within that time.
Churchesparticularly those of the colored folksschools, second hand goods, and the family laundry, when it is given out and into the hands of an untidy washerwoman, are the principal avenues of dissemination.
A civil engineer in the employ of a railway company was sent to straighten out a large elbow in the railroad, and there being in the vicinity of his work an abandoned section house, he used it as a camping place. One night he awakened by a burning sensation all over his body; and, upon striking a match, he found that his pallet was alive with bedbugs. The weather being very warm, he had placed it in the middle of the room, between the front and the back doors. He picked up his pallet, consisting of quilts and blankets, and gave them a thorough beating upon the front gallery.
He then replaced it in the same location, but resorted to the larder for protection in the form of a gallon of thick molasses. He made a circle with this around his pallet and went to bed again, with the knowledge, as he thought, that he had defeated the bedbugs. In two or three hours, however, he was awakened by the same burning sensation as before, and upon examination with a light found the bugs dropping right down from the ceiling upon his bedding.
The present or past occupancy of this loathsome insect is easily detected by the stain which its fecal matter leaves on the bed slats, which stain does not appear as a round speck, like that of a fly, but runs along the softer fibres of the wood, in obedience to the chemical affinity between the iron in the fecal matter and the tannic and gallic acids of the lumber.
The study of the bacterial flora of the bedbug is both varied and interesting, and, I believe, is destined to open up unknown avenues for bacterial study of blood, as the work I have done in this direction warrants the opinion that the bedbug will furnish a large field for very interesting and profitable research.
Some years after writing the above "Observations on Bedbugs," which was prepared in 1903, my attention was directed by Mexican farmers living in the vicinity of San Antonio to another blood-sucking insect, which seems to be, in its habit, both nocturnal and diurnal. I was informed by these Mexicans that, in numerous instances, after being bitten by one of these insects at night, the next day a decided malaise was experienced, and this persisted for three or four days, some of those bitten expressing their feelings as a "soreness of the joints." Now, this insect's abdominal cavity will hold from three to four drops of blood, and it is hardly believable that it is the mechanical puncture by the proboscis alone that produced the symptoms mentioned. This insect is called by the Mexicans "Chinche Volante," meaning flying chinch or flying bedbug. The English name is blood-sucking conenose (Conorrhinus sanyuisuga). Almost every Mexican farmhouse has a brush arbor over the front door to afford shade, and it is under these arbors that the Mexicans sleep in the summer, on account of its being too hot in the house. They are then better exposed to the bites of these insects, and wire screening seems to be of no avail in protecting these people from them, as they crawl under the screened door. I have caught a number of them in my own home and screened sleeping room. In some instances they become so engorged that if the sleeper happens to roll over on them and crushes them, a very large blood spot is visible and plainly tells of their presence. In this climate I have found what I believe to be two varieties of this insect. The small squares on the margin of the abdomen in one variety are distinctly black, and in the other variety they are yellow.
I have had one of these insects photographed and a number of copies made for distribution among you, so that you will become acquainted with what may prove to be another source of variola in Texas.
It was not my purpose to present this insect to you at this time, and I would not have done so, had it not been for a very fortunate observation I made during one of my pilgrimages in quest of information on the habits of bats.
In looking one day for bats in an old adobe house, on which time had laid a heavy handthe doors, windows, and roof being nearly goneI found one of these insects depleting a bedbug. Upon inquiring in the neighborhood for the owner of this house, I learned that it had been vacant for more than twenty-five years, and that it had been built about fifty years ago. Now, bedbugs will continue to inhabit houses for some years after they are vacant, but not for such a great length of time as this one had been empty, not in such a state of decay as this one was in. Such being true, you can readily see the connection which could be established between this insect and a "spontaneous case of variola" where there was no possible contact with the disease, as the chinche volante can and will fly long distances.
In presenting the following experiments, I do not wish to take a stand foreign to the medical profession. I do not pose as a physician who does not believe in the preventive qualities of vaccination nor its practice.
I wish merely to place before you some of the interesting experiments carried out by me during my residence in Mexico. The subject of vaccination has been too well covered for me to discuss its merits or demerits.
Here mention must be made of a few points leading up to the using of other methods than the well-tried mode of local inoculation, vaccination.
Some years ago I became interested in the subject of smallpox through the work going on, as given in the foregoing paper. I was thrown continually in contact with smallpox in the country across the border.
Vaccination by points and serum did not give the desired results, and
Lastly, the arm-to-arm vaccination adopted by the government of Mexico was out of the question. The lack of care in taking the pus; the disregard to the clinical health of the subjects, and the severely sore arms from mixed infection placed it where my using it was impossible.
I spoke of inefficiency of serum and points. I mean the relative "takes" and non-takes. Keeping close record of all cases vaccinated showed a failure of 80 per cent. This led to an investigation of the serum, which had been obtained from a local wholesale druggist. Direct orders were placed with the laboratories of two houses, but the result proved the same.
Upon the suggestion of one of my fellow practitioners, we wrote to one of the laboratories and got them to prepare a special serum for us; but again disappointment stared us in the face. I never found any satisfactory reason for these failures, excepting the lack of rapid transportation and the consequent changes to which the serum was subjected.
All the time I was trying to stamp out the disease, using all known means, with the exception of isolation, this being impossible, as the government did not impose quarantines.
Being interested in the transmission of the disease, and accepting now the theory of the bedbug as the transmitter, as shown by Dr. Campbell's experiments, I began a redoubled fight to try to rid the community as far as possible of this pest. Where I was able to do this or where I found a house free from bedbugs, I never had a second case of smallpox occur. I allowed and even encouraged free intermingling of families and patients after I was positive that no bugs existed, and in each case had no recurrence of the disease.
The people even go further, trying to produce the disease in their infants, thus procuring immunity for life. To do this, they place them in the bed with the sick and allow them to remain from several hours to a day or so.
In 1907-08 an epidemic broke out in Colonia Minero, across the river from the City of Victoria, also in the town of Xincotencalt. During this epidemic, I mingled freely with my friends, family, patients, and smallpox sufferers. I never employed any of the methods recommended, such as changing, robing, or disinfection during or after visits. I also had the closest possible relations with my boy, who even accompanied me on my rounds when I went to see these cases, he, of course, remaining in the buggy.
I will here state that at that time he had not been vaccinated, this being done in August, 1911, when, upon a visit to San Antonio, his grandfather vaccinated him successfully.
The Hacienda, El Conejo, is used as a halfway house, everyone stopping there going to and from the railroad station. The manager wrote me regarding the epidemic, and asked me to go down and keep the disease out of the ranch. I began by ordering a general clean-up of the ranch houses, a plastering up of all openings, such as nail holes, cracks, etc., and a remudding of the jacales or mud huts. I used 1 to 500 Bichloride of Mercury in alcoholic solution as an exterminator of bugs and their eggs. Here I practiced vaccination with the usual unsatisfactory results. I allowed a general intercourse between the members of the town and the ranch, but did not allow stop-over-night privileges which would permit travellers to unpack their belongings, nor did I allow the ranch hands to spend the night at the village. The disease never extended to the ranch, getting, however, quite near us in an adjoining ranch owned by Mexicia Haciendados.
From here I was called to Xincotencalt to see the children of the leading merchant. I found three of them suffering with the disease. They were in an adjoining room to the store, the door way between being closed by a calico curtain. The mother and father were continually running back and forth, serving patrons and attending the children. This store was the meeting place for the Chomal Colony, American Settlers, who did their purchasing there. I never heard of any cases occurring in this colony, although, had there been, I should have known it. During my stay here, an oil man came to arrange a business matter with the storekeeper. Upon discovering me there and the nature of the cases I was attending, he wished to get out at once, but I finally persuaded him there was no danger, so he remained. This gave me an opportunity to bring him in contact with the disease, which I did. I then kept him under observation for two weeks, and vaccinated him at Victoria. The vaccination was successful, and it proved he was not immune.
W. E. C. Aged 60. Seen first in stage of invasion; rash broke out measley at first. On the third day I vaccinated his boy. A few days later the lad developed a light case. I then began my bedbug killing and cleaning-up process. The mother gave a history of having had the disease. I allowed free intermingling of this boy with his playmates, and no cases developed in any of them.
L. R. Aged 20. Seen in initial stage. I remudded his house and cleaned it up with Bichloride Solution. No case developed among any other members of this family, although three children, his wife, and his brother's wife and mother lived there. Also about twenty relatives visited him during his illness. All of these were my patients and personally known to me.
Child 4 years of age. Contracted the disease on a visit to San Luis Potosí from Cerro de San Pedro. This family lived in a cave. This I cleaned up by drenching it with Bichloride Solution. A few days later a ease developed in an adjoining cave. Upon investigation I found a communication between the two caves. This I closed and cleaned up the second cave. After this I had no more trouble.
V. B. Aged 19. Puerto Zuelo; seen in convalescence. Second case developed across the street in a baby ten months of age (Fades Ojedo). The mother of this child, who was a relative of the first case, had been nursing the said first case, (probably produced the disease in her child). I cleaned up both houses and had no more cases in this village.
C. C. Aged 10. Well developed case when first seen. I ordered the house cleaned up under police supervision. His brother developed the disease three days afterwards, but no other case occurred here, although three girls, the mother, and the grandmother occupied this cave.
Case, 6 months child of R. P., mine foreman, developed smallpox at the same time as a young girl waitress at one of the fondas or restaurants up town. I found that this girl had been in the habit of playing nurse-maid to the baby after working hours. I did my usual extermination stunt here, and no other case developed.
J. F., boy of twelve months. Same precautions used. No other case developed. This family consisted of two other children, mother, and father.
R. L. Aged 20. Developed after a visit to San Luis Potosí. He lived with his brother, an alderman of Cerro, San Pedro, whose family consisted of four children, wife, mother, and sister. I found no evidences of bugs here, but took the usual prcautions, and upon my advice we kept the children here during his brother's illness. No other case developed.
J. A. Aged 1 year. Some ten children lived here in three rooms. After several hours of hard work at extermination and cleaning up I was rewarded by no new cases developing here.
Following the presentation and discussions of this work, these resolutions were adopted by the Society:
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