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The Health of Deganwy.


The Health of Deganwy. STATEMENTS REFUTED BY A PUBLIC MEETING. On Wednesday evening of last week an enthusiastic public meeting was held in the Church Schools, Deganwy, the object of which was to correct the impression that had got abroad as a result of newspaper reports that typhoid fever has been, and is still, prevalent in Deganwy. There was a very large attendance, presided over by Dr. G. H. Griffiths, president of the Improvement Association, under whose auspices the meeting was held. He was supported on the platform by Dr. R. Arthur-Prichard, Dr. W. Carter, Dr. Hamilton, Mr. Willoughby- Gardener, the Rev. J. F. Reece, and the Rev. O. Selwyn Jones together with Mr. Henry Jones, the chairman of the Committee, and Mr. Alex Mclntyre, the secretary. "NO DISTRICT COULD BE HEALTHIER." At the outset the Secretary (Mr. Alex Mclntyre) read the following letter from Messrs. Field, Sons, and Harrison, solicitors, Liverpool, who acted for the plaintiff in the action at Liverpool Our attention has been drawn in your letter to the Press. The statements contained in the letter are absolutely correct. As the solicitors for the plain- tiff in the recent case at the Liverpool Assizes, we should like you to understand that Mr. Field is anxious to assist your Association in disproving the reckless allegations which were made by Dr. Fullerton, who was called as an expert witness for the defence. Dr. Fullerton's object was to prove that the typhoid which occurred during the latter end of 1908 and the beginning of 1909 was endemic in the district, and his qualifications for making his statement were ascertained to be that he had inspected an ordnance map and had seen the estuary from the train. The plaintiff's contention was clearly that the typhoid cases constituted two distinct epidemics, which could be traced to the milk supplied by two separate farms. The plaintiff's contention having been proved after an exhaustive trial, we think it is clear that the rumours which have been circulated as to the causes of typhoid in the district can now be con- fidently contradicted. These and other statements weresufficiently controverted during the trial; but having been made, it was absolutely necessary that they should be publicly contra- dicted. "The Urban District Council of Conway considered the matter of sufficient importance to justify an enquiry into the steps taken by their Medical Officer of Health to suppress the outbreak, and passed a resolution in the month of June that the Llandudno Council should be invited to a joint enquiry, when the whole matter could be thrashed out but the Llandudno Council did not accept the invitation. The writer saw the Chairman of the Health Committee of the Llandudno Council in May last, and urged upon him the desirability of enquiring into the causes of the epidemic, and the sufficiency, or otherwise, of the steps taken by the Medical Officer to suppress it. The Chairman, however, apparently adopted the view that the matter had better be allowed to drop and be forgotten. We still think it was the duty of the respective local Councils to ascertain whether the continuance of the outbreak might not have been prevented. No doubt the action at the Assizes has caused public attention to be drawn to the matter, but rumours were already afloat, and we think you will agree with us that Mr. Field has done a public service in clearly defining the causes of the epidemics and proving thereby that typhoid is not e i p endemic in the district. W are sure that no district could be healthier than that which includes the Conway Valley, Deganwy, and Llandudno, and the reputation which that district enjoys is well borne out by health statistics. In 1908 there was not a single case of typhoid notified in Conway urban district (which includes Deganwy), while in Llandudno only one was notified during the two years 1907 and 1908. You are at liberty to make use of this letter as you may consider desirable in the interests of your Association." A BEASTLY HEALTHY DISTRICT. The President then said that there was an idea abroad that that meeting had been called for the purpose of lifting up Deganwy as a health resort and belittling their neighbours. That was a wrong impression, as they only thought of De- ganwy itself. He described the health of Deganwy as beastly" healthy. (Laughter.) Medical gentle- men hardly made enough to run their motor cars, The idea of the meeting was to correct the im- pression that Deganwy, as gossip said, in last June was full of typhoid fever. The association had written letters to the newspapers, and some people thought they ought to let it drop at that. There was no typhoid in the district, and all pre- sent knew it, but unfortunately the people of Liverpool and Manche ter, and even London, were still talking about typhoid in North Wales, and it was to the gentlemen of the Press that they looked to try and prove that there were no fever-stricken in Deganwy. The postal address of Marl was Deganwy, and in that they were unfortunate, and it was presumed that it was right in the middle of the resort. He had received numerous enquiries about it himself, and he had assured the enquirers that there was no disease, with the result that they all decided upon making Deganwy their holi- day resort. There was also a Liverpool lady who was to have come down and stayed with her father at Deganwy, but she said that he had told her that half the inhabitants were in bed with the fever, and that the Territorial soldiers on the Morfa were dying off like flies. (Laughter.) This appeared absurd to those present, but it was not so to Liverpool and Manchester people, and if these people did not visit Deganwy they might as well shut up shop. Owing to these tales he had been assured that the takings in Deganwy for June and July had very materially diminished. One could not help but sympathise with Mr. Field in his loss, but the milk which was supposed be the cause of the outbreak did not enter Deganwy at all, but turned round and went to Llandudno. For the last four years in Deganwy he had only reported one case as a medical man, and that was in 1905. There had been none since. Respecting the charges made against the river, he could assure them that there was no healthier set of women than those who went musselling for their living, and that statement also applied to the boatmen. He sincerely hoped there would be no more of this scare, when a doctor could hardly make a living. He thought that would appeal to the Manchester and Liverpool people more than the microbes on the mud banks, which were supposed to be floating about like aeroplanes, or even the submarines which wended their way through the drains. (Laughter.) He sincerely trusted that the work of the association would be appreciated, and that they would secure several new subscribers. He now moved that the meeting expresses its deep sympathy with Mr. Field in the great loss that he has sustained, and thanking him for his kindness in sending a letter to the association. (Hear, hear.) Councillor A. G. Rogers seconded, and added that he also wished to thank Mr. Field for fighting their cause, as well as his own. The proposition was carried unanimously. CHAIRMAN OF COUNTY COUNCIL. Dr. R. Arthur-Prichard, J.P., said he was pleased to be present at the meeting that night to say something to refute the medical evidence given at Liverpool Assizes. He took it upon himself to write to the newspapers his own opinion about it. He hoped before long there would be a joint association between Conway and Deganwy, and it behoved them as burgesses of the same borough to refute the accusation. He could trace the origin of the outbreak as well as anyone in the neigh- bourhood to the true natural source. They had heard about the microbes in the estuary of the river flying about, but the gentleman who made that assertion forgot that all the mussels at Con- way were covered over twice in twenty-four hours with the tide. They had to be careful in what they said and did, so as not to aggravate the report. If they went very hot-headed, it might do them a lot of harm. Unfortunately the gentlemen ¡ of the Press were very fond of aggravating a rising place like Deganwy, but the outbreak occurred out- side. At this point the Secretary read the letter which Dr. Arthur-Prichard had forwarded to the news- papers. Dr Arthur-Prichard said thatexonerated Deganwy altogether. Only four cases were notified during the last ten years. Two of these were imported by railway men who went away for the week, and only returned on the Saturday. Another one was brought from Llandudno Hospital to Conway. The tracing of all these was as easy as possible to the milk. He attended some patients, and in two houses found typhoid fever. He reported to the Medical Officer, who visited the patients with him. In one case the family were supplied with milk from three sources, and there he was rather non- plussed. In the second case, they found the milk come from one source, and again in a third case, it came from the same place so that at last the Medical Officer found out the source of that out- break, and that was all the fever that had occurred in this neighbourhood. From the moment that supply was stopped there was no case of typhoid in the neighbourhood. It was foolish and ridiculous to put it down to any estuary. The defence had to advance some theory, and that was the weak theory they got. He was sure there was not a healthier place than Deganwy and Conwy. De- ganwy was only newly built, and therefore there ought to be no typhoid in it. He felt sure that they would do their utmost to let the large com- mercial towns know that it was a wrong impres- sion altogether. He was connected with a body who had the water supply of different towns in hand, and when short of water one of these towns, who depended largely on visitors, went and adver- tised it broadcast but there was another large town close to who had less water, but they were a hundred times more sensible by not advertising the fact. He thought the Press would do all they could to advertise that meeting, so that next season would be a record one in Deganwy. (Hear, hear.) FURTHER MEDICAL TESTIMONY. Dr. W. Carter said that twenty years ago he began to be over-wearied with continued strain, and he looked about for a healthy holiday resi- dence. He was referred to Deganwy, but he must confess that he had never heard of it. (Laughter.) When he came down here he was more than satis- fied with the place, and fell in love with the picturesque beauty of the neighbourhood. Eighteen years ago he built a house of his own, and this had been his holiday residence ever since. He had grandchildren who came down and frolicked about the country, and was it likely for him to bring them down if .there was any typhoid about ? It was altogether a delusion in the present case. One of the most astonishing statements he heard was that the place had associated with its mussels a slug that contained typhoid. The alarm was altogether unwarranted. It was his strong con- viction that there were very few places more healthy, and there was no place more beautiful than Deganwy, Did they think medical men wanted to retire in happiness and were so insane or wanting in common-sense as to remain in a place with the prevalence of these things flyiog about. (Laughter.) The evidence brought forward by the defence as expert evidence was ridiculous, and altogether unwarranted, and was brought forward to depreciate this place. Dr. Hamilton bore out what had already been stated, and added that he had been a holiday visitor for 25 years, and he had now come there to end his days. He thought that would speak well for the health of Deganwy and its surroundings. He agreed as to the absurdity of Dr. Fullerton's idea of typhoid germs being dried up and flying about. PRACTICAL EVIDENCE. Mr. Willoughby-Gardener said he was pleased to add his testimony to the health of Deganwy. He had a very extensive acquaintance with the North Wales Coast. He had no hesitation, after many years of travelling, to decide upon Deganwy in which to spend the remainder of his days. Before he became a permanent resident, he got expert medical advice as to the health of the district, and his choice had borne good fruit. He had to leave Liverpool 15 years ago on account of ill-health. He had also lived abroad, but he never expected to get his health back as he had done since he came to Deganwy. He rejoiced to be able to give practical evidence. He was glad that the new association had taken the matter up so thoroughly. The Vicar of Llanrhos (the Rev. J. F. Reece) said he was present to extend his sympathy with the object of the meeting. By looking around the room that night, he did not think any Insurance Company would be afraid to issue policies. (Laughter.) It was the duty of every person to stand up for character when that character was assailed. Nature had done much for Deganwy with its unrivalled situation. It enjoyed more sunshine than almost any other place in the kingdom and what beautiful sunsets were to be seen. He was told that the last thing people did in Deganwy was to die. (Laughter.) It had been the province of Dr Carter to advise people where to live. He (the speaker) always liked to know what medicine the doctor took himself, and when eminent specialists come amongst them, he would say That is the place for me." Deganwy had been unintentionally assailed by the Press, and he was sure the reporters would give publicity to the fact that not a single drop of milk from that contaminated source came to Deganwy, and that not a single case of typhoid occurred this year, or last year. The Rev 0. Selwyn Jones sympathised with Mr. Field in his bereavement, and added that he looked upon Deganwy as the healthiest place in Wales, if not the whole of Great Britain. He had had better health in Deganwy than anywhere else. Mr. James Stott, Oakwood Park Hotel, said he should like to say a few words. He came to Con- way some 25 years ago an absolute wreck, and he did not think he looked much of a wreck now. (Hear, hear.) He had seen people visiting his hotel practically on stretchers and walking away again in a month's time. To his own knowledge, one of the medical experts for the defence had rented Benarth Hall for two months at a time for three years with all that expanse for microbes in front of him. This same expert frequently stayed on Con- way shore, and if he mistook not, he had been at Gogarth Abbey Hotel this year. He was particu- larly fond of this locality as well as other places, such as Barmouth, where there was as much mud exposed as any river. In addition to that there was Aberdovey, and last but not least Aberystwyth, where they had a river, where fish did not live. (Laughter.) On the proposition of Mr. Henry Jones, seconded by Mr.Edward Jones, the President and the speakers were heartily thanked, and the members of the Press were also thanked for their attendance. Mr. A. G. Rogers spoke highly of the services of the Secretary (Mr. Alex Mclntyre), and proposed a cordial vote of thanks to him. This was seconded by Mr. John Evans, and carried unanimously.

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