Maine: An Encyclopedia

York Health Report 1933

Town of York

Report of the Health Department 1933

Health Department

Salary $ 800 00
Office in Realty Building 55 12
Rent $ 37 50
Telephone and Telegram 15 62
Lights 2 00
Construction at Fire House $197 70
Tower & Adams $ 36 00
D. H. Austin 9 18
Earl B. Smith 10 00
Arthur Stover 22 40
F. E. Johnson & Son 120 12
George R. Curtis, quarantine expenses $50 00
Dr. Haven Paul 15 50
Blood Test on Cow $ 5 00
Quarantine of dog 10 50
Raymond Earle, painting signs $ 6 00
York Transcript, printing 5 00
Fred A. Woodward, printing 11 00
Thurston McIntire, labor 3 00
Charles Bridges, labor 1 00
Supplies 38 81
Morton Fry $ 15 80
Geo. C. Frye Cc. 55
C W Broadbent Co. 2 50
Boardman & Norton 13 97
Allinson Drug 1 25
D R Austin 1 30
New England Medical Journal 1 44
Total $ 1,183 63
Appropriation $ 1,200 00
Unexpended $ 16 37

To the Honorable Board of Selectmen:

The following is the report of this department for the year ending February 1, 1933.

The cases of reportable disease brought to my attention were:

Typhoid Fever 4
Scarlet Fever 27
Undulant Fever 1
Tetanus 1
Tuberculosis 2
Measles 16
Chicken Pox 10
Whooping Cough 20
Mumps 1
Vincent’s Angina 1
Pneumonia 1
Gonorrhea 1


Four cases of typhoid fever occurred at York Harbor last summer. All of these cases occurred in one house. There was no indication that the source of the infection was in York.

The confining of the cases to one household afforded a contrast to the epidemic of 1914. Then the economic life of the community as a summer resort was threatened; this year I do not believe there was any undue alarm. Our summer residents maintained an intelligent. questioning alertness which demanded reassurance. I was gratified with the opportunity to have my own activity in this respect fortified by a visit and the generous aid of Dr. George Coombs, the Director of the State Bureau of Health; of Dr. John Pepper, the District Health Officer; of Dr Elmer Campbell, the Director of the Division of Sanitary Engineering; and a friend whose kindnesses are of inestimable value in the matter of local contacts as well as of a scientific investigation, Dr. Howard Karsner of York Harbor, the Professor of Pathology at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sewage is the source of typhoid infection. Event of last summer demonstrated that a septic tank affords adequate protection of the bathing beach against this contamination. With the advice of the State Bureau of Health and the Assessors of the York Harbor Corporation, I have requested every householder whose sewage is deposited in the salt water, from the Railroad Bridge to Eastern Point, to install a septic tank in the line of the sewer draining his house.

It is pleasant to be able to record that arrangements have been completed lot the installation of a permanent chlorination apparatus at Chase’s Pond. This, with the


chlorinator which now treats Folly Pond water, will assure to every user a pure water supply without unnatural taste or odor, so long as proper supervision is maintained over apparatus and water shed.


Twenty-seven cases of scarlet fever have occurred in eleven houses in York this year. There have been five separate outbreaks, each except the last, occurring in and staying confined to one family. One death resulted from this disease, the majority of the other cases being mild.


Bang’s Disease or ‘abortion fever’ is becoming more frequent in the herds of New England cattle. The economic loss by the untimely termination of pregnancy in otherwise healthy cows is assuming formidable proportions. More pertinent for the purposes of this report is the fact that the disease can be contracted by humans in a form known as undulant fever by drinking the milk of infected cattle or by careless handling of them, It is a serious disease and is being reported more frequently in recent years. This year the first case known to have occurred in York was reported by me.

The important thing is that the three diseases thus far discussed can all be transmitted by milk, and all danger of their transmission by milk can he avoided by proper pasteurization. It is a sad irony that the farmer lad who was made ill with undulant fever this year drank infected milk from his own herd, and then sent the milk along to a pasteurizing plant where it was made safe for everybody else.


The case of tetanus “lockjaw” deserves a line because it is a preventable disease—fatal in the majority of cases when it does occur. All wounds infected with garden soil, manure, street dirt, gun powder and wadding, etc., are possible sources of tetanus infection. A timely inoculation with harmless serum is a preventive—the efficacy of which was demonstrated under war conditions in 1914—18.


Two cases of tuberculosis were reported this year, one of which has died. The table appended shows that a winning battle is being fought against this disease—and also demonstrates what still is to be accomplished. The York Lions Club this year has been active in urging earlier hospitalization of these cases—a form of treatment of value to the individual afflicted and of greater value the rest of us in removing danger from the community.


In March free vaccination against small pox and inoculation against diphtheria were offered—with again a gratifying but not satisfying response.

In addition to these two measures which will be offered as usual this year I desire to do the Shick Test on as many as will appear for it. This is a test for immunity to diphtheria and should be taken by all who are hesitant about having the toxin-antitoxin and by all who have had it to be absolutely certain that their immunity has been established.

Mr. Thomas Thumith and Mr. George Stover have been reappointed plumbing inspectors under the statute.

Food handlers were examined as usual. The importance of this work is better understood when it is realized that any food handler entering the town may be a typhoid carrier and cause many cases.

The County Health Nurse continued her annual examination of school children, as did the Dental Hygienist supported by the Red Cross and Lions Club.

The inspector from the Department of Agriculture made his annual visit and inspection of dairies, accompanied the writer.

No unusual nuisances or acute problems of sewage disposal were encountered this year. Many faulty sewage systems continue to exist but conditions are prejudicial to any attempts at remedy at present.


This year a smaller but adequate laboratory was established in the Fire House at York Village, a structure already owned by he town. This will result in a yearly saving of approximately $200, without any essential sacrifice, allowing a budget reduction of about 17 per cent.

Last June the children of Mr. George Curtis of York Village where quarantined by me for scarlet fever. Proper care in the protection of the community seemed to require the employment of a nurse to be quarantined with the children during the period when they were too sick to care for themselves as there was no mother to care for them. Mr. Curtis was unable to pay the nurse at that time so I loaned him sufficient funds, secured by a note from his hand payable on or before February 1, 1933. Attempts to collect this note have been unsuccessful in time to erase any record of it from this report.


In preparing an address to be delivered before the Woman’s League of York I learned from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company that the expectancy of life from birth had increased nearly 20 years in the past 75 years. The attributed this increase very largely to lowered death rates from typhoid fever, tuberculosis, nutritional disorders of childhood, and communicable diseases of childhood. I was interested in going over the statistics of deaths in York; which have been recorded for the four decades since 1892, to find a similar increase. I append these figures just as they occur in the Town Clerk’s records without any attempt at correcting or editing.

I think these are important figures and furnish something solid and sure in a time when there are fewer and fewer settled convictions on fundamentals. If life is worth preserving here is its preservation.

Knowledge concerning preventive medicine far exceeds its actual practice, and responsibility for its failure greatly exceeds authority granted to use it.

Yours respectfully,


Health Officer

Source: Annual Report of the Town of York, Maine, for the year ending February 12, 1933.

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This entry was last modified: January 17, 2015 02:37 AM

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