Ninth Annual Report of the Provincial Board of Health of Ontario: Being for the Year 1890 (Classic Reprint)
To Sir Alexander Campbell, K.C.M.G.,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Ontario.
May it Please Your Honour:
In presenting its ninth annual report the Provincial Board of Health is gratified to be able to record the fact, that during the past year there has not been a single outbreak of smallpox.
The Province has not been equally fortunate in escaping the visitation of other zymotic diseases. Thus in Toronto, with an estimated population of 178,000, typhoid fever caused 117 deaths, diphtheria 71, measles 18, and scarlet fever 14. The total deaths for the year were 2,919, the ratio per 1,000 of population 16.39, and the zymotic death-rate 3.43. Now the zymotic death-rate, or in other words, the mortality from preventable diseases is a measure whereby one may test the purity of a municipality's water supply, its freedom from nuisances, and the fidelity with which notification, isolation and disinfection are attended to in resisting the attacks of contagious disease within its borders.
The postulate of hygiene is: given pure air, particularly in inhabited places, purity of water supply, prompt action in giving notice of the existence of zymotic disease, immediate isolation of patients and exposed persons, with the necessary disinfection of persons and things, and zymotic disease will soon cease to appear in any locality. The nearer a municipality approaches to the conditions of the postulate, the freer will it be from diseases of this class.
Measured by this standard, Toronto with its zymotic mortality of 3.43 maybe considered one of the healthiest cities in the Dominion, the zymotic death-rate of Quebec for 1890 being 9.88 per 1,000, Montreal 7.08, Halifax 5.82, Ottawa 5.36, Winnipeg 4.89, St, John, N.B., 3.49, Hamilton 3.49, and London 2.09. And yet if we compare even the best of these, that of London, Ontario, with 1.5 the zymotic death rate of Kensington, a London parish having a population of 178,000, we gain some idea of the extent of our own shortcomings, and also of the influence which hygiene can and does exert even in densely populated cities, in preventing the spread of contagious diseases, and consequently preserving the lives of the people. It is evident, therefore, that if we would attain to the highest degree of sanitary well-being, the people of Toronto as well as other Ontario municipalities must strengthen the hands of their Local Boards of Health, and see to the appointment of competent medical health officers whose duty it will be to look narrowly into existing defects, and by advising their removal, accomplish much actual good, while at the same time raising the standard of hygienic endeavor among the people.
In this Province, as in other countries, about 85 percent, of all deaths from diphtheria are of children under ten years of age. Among grown people the mortality is much less.
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