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THE VICAR- OF GLYNTAF AND…

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SCARLET FEVER IN THE RHONDDA…

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SCARLET FEVER IN THE RHONDDA YALLEYS. -lf 1 r,r,n dfu«i T LETTER BY DR. MORGAN, CARDIFF. To the Editor of the Pontypridd Chronicle. SIR,—In a leaderette which appeared in your last week's issue and a report of the Ystradyfociwg Local Board of the same date, it appears that in consequence of an extensive and virulent out-break of scarlatina in the populous valley of the Rhon'dda and its surrounding districts, it has been deepped advisable by the Medical Officer of Health to issue- instructions for the immediate closure of all schools and various places of Worship as well. It is further stated that the death role varies consider- ably in different districts, but Trealaw, Treherbbrt and Mardy, giving up to the King of terrors, whole families, and in addition from 25 to 33 per cent. At Treorky also the epidemic seems to h4ve assumed a still more malignant and fatal form,. and the patients, after lingering long, dying frpm> throat mischief, doubtless a form of diphtheretic, or malignant sore throat. That a disease like scarlet fever generally so mildiu form, and so amenable to treatment, that many a fond and anxious mother has conducted her little ones safely through the usual stages of the disorder with the aid of a few simple nostrums, should assume such a viscious and malignant character, and present so terrible a death role as to compel the Medical Officer of Health, nolens volens to issue the edict he did as announced in your journal, is so startling that we may well pause and hesitate in giving an opinion, till more concise information is forthcoming. It may however be as the records ot history, and vital statistics" fully attest that that malignant and plague-like form of "scarlatina" which is now converting the once smiling and happy valley of the Rhondda into a huge sepulchre, and a valley of death, might have originated, or, become aggra- vated, by some mysterious convulsions of Nature, or, by the esoape of poisonous gases from old cesspools, culverts, and long-abandoned sewers or, again, by the re-opening of graves long, or, recently tenanted by the remains of those who had died from the same disease. For we have ample proofs that the disturbance of old graveyards, the overcrowding of bodies in the same receptacle, and the re-opening of such, has disseminated the disease from which they died far and wide with the most deadly effects. But it is not my intention at the present time nor have I a desire, did space allow, to indulge in any speculative, or, theoretical views as to the fons et origo of this, or, indeed of any other epidemic disease, beyond the simple facts related; but simply to direct thb serious attention of the public, as well as those members of the medical profession who from various causes coupled with the laborious duties of daily life, are debarred from studying more fully those laws of Nature,-General hygiene, sanitary improvements, preventive, prophylactic, or, substitutive medicine, of which the late Dr. William Budd, of Bristol, was so ardent a pioneer, and brilliant an expounder. It is tersely said that a knowledge of any disease is half its cure, true and it is further remarked that prevention is better than any cure, true also. By Prophylactic, Preventive, or Substitutive Medicine, is understood, that law in Nature that no two diseases of a similar kind can occupy the same part of the body at one and the same time:-One must yield priority to the other. If then a properly selected •' Prophylactic" is administered to a person in health, it so fortifies ihe system by its own inherent properties as to repel with indignation, and all the vis natural a similarly invading enemy. Let us briefly illustrate this, the first fundamental law in Nature, (self pr, seivation) by a few practical and evidential facts :— Firstly,—" Vital Statistics" and the experience r of thousands of physicians in all parts of the world, from the time ot its discovery by Jenner, prove that the transfer of a particle of lymph from the cow to a human being, so small, as not to exceed in size, a millet seed, or, the much ridiculed Homoeopathic Globule, and yet so powerful as to render the frame work of the most powerful man, or the fragile form of the most delicate infant a tower of strength and an impregnable fortress against the repeated assaults of a similarly invading enemy-" The Small Pox." Secondly,—The Asiatic Cholera, is effectually kept at bay, by the timely administration of a preparation of Camphor, Copper, Arsenic or Hellebore, and it is a remarkable fact that those who work in Copper Mines and Copper Works are almost proof against the. disease. Thirdly,-The Disulphate of Quinine taken at certain, intervals will more or less effectually protect the system from intermittent and remittent fevers, as fully testified by those great travellers Livingstone, Stanley, Cameron, and a host of physicians. Fourthly,-The Yellow Fever of the West Indies and Southern States of America is not only quickly cured by the Eucalyptus Globulus, and, the Trigonochephnlus Lachesis, but is moreover effectually prevented from invading the healthy body by the timely administration of the former remarkable medicine. Fifthly,—A short course of a mild mercurial preparation will protect the system from the infection of a disease so loathsome and hideous in its results, as to have cailed forth from the legis- latures of this and other countries stringent measures for its suppression. Sixth,—that terrible disease, diphtheria which has hitherto claimed for its death role as many victims as the cholera of the Indian Jrngles, or the plague of the Levant, is to be prevented by the timely application to the throat of Permanganate of Potash, Carbolic Acid, Ter«bene, or Thymol, in the form of Gargle, Inhalent or Spray, with the administration of Belladonna and Bin.Iodide of Mercury careful diet, and strict hygienic rules. Seventhly,—That terrible plague-spot, Hydro- phobia, which has hitherto baffled the skill of the representatives of medicine in all cowntries and all ages, is radically cured by potent doses of "Datura Stramonium" in the hands of those untutored savages who inhabit some of the Islands of the Indian Archepelego; whilst the same drug, if we might judge from its pathogenetic effects on the body in health, would doubtless prove a. powerful prophylactic as well. Eightly,-That equally terrible disease, and quite as implacable to the ordinary science of medicine- Tetanus, or Lockjaw," is, on the authority of Dr. Richard Shomburgk of the Botanical Gardens, Adelaide, quickly and effectually cured by the famous arrow poison of the South American Indians, known as urari, curari, or woorali. So even this terrible drug has its medicinal uses, and according to the same authority, cures both Lockjaw, and Hydrophobia. Ninthly,—About twelve months ago a virulent form of Measles broke out in the old town of Hull, and out of 600 houses visited by one Inspector, there were 100 in which the epidemic either was, or had been, prevalent, the mortality was something appalling. This disease, however, yields kindly enough to the action of the ifpulsatilla Nigrican," or pasque-flower, and its undoubted efficacy as a prophylactic has been tested in numerous cases by the writer for the last 20 years or more. Finally, For the protection of the constitution against that disease which is now raging with such alarming results along the slopes of the Rhondda Valley, and the plateaus of Aberdare, and which has called forth these "hastily culled remarks. in the fervent hope that the principles here inculcated, however novel they may appear to the public, and indeed to the majority of the pi ofession as well," may be submitted to a fair, unbiassed, and prac- tical test. There grows a little creeping plant, called the Atropa Belladonna, or Deadly Nightshade, and its There grows a little creeping plant, called the Atropa Belladonna, or Deadly Nightshade, and its favourite habitat is old quarries and shady nooks its delicate tendrils are studded with red berries, most inviting to the eye, but very obnoxious to the constitution. Hence the frequent cases of poisoning by this plant as recorded in various works cn Toxicology. Hence also the v luab e information gained'by every student of .nature, as to the curative as well as the irophylnctie properties of this drug; for we find that its morbid effects on the body in health bear so strong a resemblance to tlia same effects produced by the scarlatina poison as scarcely to be distinguished one from the other 1 fence this poison becomes a valuable medicine in the treatment of scarlet fever; find a tower of strength to the constitution as a prophylactic, or preventative agent, against the onslaught of a similar enemy. The Creator has thus lodged in Nature itself the cure for its own evils, that cure, by a wonderful arrangement, being found in the very substance, which in a healthy organism produces the evil. I am, &c., WILLIAM MORGAN, M.D. Dumfries Place, Cardiff, and Market-st., Pontypridd, January 31, 1882.

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