Previous Index Next
Page 323
(previous) (Page 000323) (next)
 
DUST AN D DISEASE. 323

rect from the main into the house-tap; no cisterns are em-
ployed, the supply is always fresh and pure. It is highly
charged with air. This is the kind of water which is sup-
plied to the fortunate peOple of Tring, Caterham, and Can-
terbury.

Let me, in conclusion, remind you that I do not con-
sider the floating matter revealed by the electric beam to be
all living matter. I believe that only in exceptional cases,
such as those cited in the excellent reports of Dr. Angus
Smith, does the quantity of living matter suspended in the
air of our streets and rooms amount to more than a small
fraction of the total dust. But I believe it to be perfectly
well established that, during epidemics, air and water are
charged with the specific “ materies morbi ” by which the
disease is spread ; that these two media are, in fact, the
chief vehicles of its dissemination. I believe there are the
strongest grounds for holding the contagious matter to be
“ particulate,” and further, that the particles are to all in-
tents and purposes germs ; exhibiting as they do the fun-
damental characteristic of propagating their own kind
through countless generations, and over vast geographical
areas. Their life and reproduction run parallel to, and are
an incident of the. life of man himself. I do not doubt the
ability of these particles to scatter light, nor that the means
by which the visible floating dust of our air is arrested, and
which demonstrably arrest with it the germs of various
forms of fungOid and animalcular life, including those con-
cerned in the phonomena of putrefaction, will also be found
effectual in arresting contagium.

The following extract from a private letter written to
me by Dr. William Budd, is so important, and its reasoning
is so clear, that I asked and obtained the permission of its
exceedingly able'writer to publish it:

“ Another point of great practical importance is, as far

Previous Index Next