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REPORT OF THE BEAVER COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY.
Owing to the want of sufficient data furnished by the members of our Society my report will be incomplete, as I can only make a superficial statement outside of my own experience. Our Society is in a tolerably fair condition, though not what it should be; meetings have been held regularly during the past year every three months, and with a fair attendance, and we have a hope that during the coming year our meetings will be better attended and more interest manifested by our old members, and a large number of new ones added; for it is to be regretted that quite a number of good practitioners in our county have failed as yet to appreciate the importance of the organization, and have not connected tbemselves with it. The general health of the county for the past year has been good—less sickness and fewer deaths than last year.
Prevalent Diseases. — Hooping-cough and measles prevailed during the winter and spring without any unusual symptoms, except especially in measles a tendency to convulsions, which occurred in a number of cases, a few of which proved fatal, and I might say in this connection, that an unusual amount of nervous diseases has occurred; more than ever before in the recollection of the oldest physicians in our county. In treatment of hooping-cough, alum, belladonna, bromide of ammonia, and bromide of potassium have been the principal remedies; the latter remedy also did good service in cases of measles accompanied with convulsions. Tinct. of aconite was given largely in the same kind of cases with very satisfactory results. Scarlatina made its appearance during the winter, and has continued up to the present writing. Most cases were scarlatina anginosa, only a very few have assumed a malignant type, and very few deaths have occurred. Diphtheria appeared at the same time in a mild form, often both diseases would occur in the same family at the same time, and a true diagnosis was often very difficult. The local treatment with ice in the mouth and applied to the throat externally, and lard or olive oil applied over the entire surface of the body, has been what has been mostly adopted, and with satisfactory results. During February and March an unusual amount of influenza and pneumonia occurred, the latter disease
appearing most frequently among children. Both diseases were of an extremely obstinate character, and a few deaths occurred from pneumonia. The following prescription has been a valuable one in pneumonia :
R. Chloroform. f3j;
Vini ipecac. f ziij;
Morphia sul. gr. j. Sig.- A teaspoonful every four hours in a wineglass of water; and use at the same time the following application to the chest:
Tr. aconite rad., aa f3ss;
Olei olivæ, f3j.-M.
Apply three or four times a day. The influenza was sudden in its onset, and spent its force mostly on the Schneiderian membrane of the nasal passages; but in a few instances the mucous membranes of the pharynx, larynx, and air passages, were implicated. The mucous tracts involved seemed to be in an extreme state of irritation, verging on inflammation, but usually stopped short of it. Aconite proved the most beneficial agent and usually cut it short in two or tbree days. A number of cases of typhoid fever occurred during the winter and spring, mostly along the Ohio and Beaver Rivers, a large percentage of which assumed a remittent form and were apparently cut short by large doses of quinine, the typhoid symptoms continuing a few days after the fever had disappeared.
In obstetrics there has been nothing of particular importance, no epidemic of puerperal fever, and no deaths to my knowledge; but in my own experience there have been more cases of tedious labor than formerly, and I can say that nearly every case of tedious labor or puerperal convulsions that has happened in my practice for the last fifteen years has occurred in short and dark complexioned
We are grieved to report the death of Dr. Charles Ferstige, of Rochester; his death occurred on the 13th day of April, 1876. He was a young man full of promise. He studied medicine in the office of the late Dr. Linninbimk, and after the death of that worthy man and skilful physician, Dr. Færstige continued in the same place up to the time of his death. He took a strong and decided stand as a member of the regular profession against all irregularity of practice, and filled all the social and moral relations of life with credit to himself and comfort to his fellow practitioners.
W. J. LANGFITT.
REPORT OF THE MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE COUNTY OF BERKS.
BERKS County is situated in the southeastern portion of the State, and is bounded by the counties of Lehigh, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lancaster, Chester, and Montgomery.
The different ranges of mountains and hills in the county are all members or offshoots of the great South or Blue Mountain Chain, and the entire surface of the county is so thickly dotted with hills, eminences, and elevations, that its drainage is comparatively easy. Nearly all the water falling on the surface of the county is removed by means of the Schuylkill River, which stream, having a fall of ten feet to the mile in its upper, and of three feet to the mile in its lower portions, is, in general, rapid enough to prevent any great stagnation of the water, and would serve still more admirably as a large drain were it not for the canal running parallel with it, which, of necessity, causes the river to be dammed occasionally, and thus renders the water more stagnant.
Marshy soil of any great extent is rare, yet in most of the small valleys, and along the base of many of the hills, the soil during the spring and fall is soft, owing to the numerous springs and streams of water issuing from the hills.
The area of the county is 902 square miles, and its altitude above sea-level is about 280 feet.
The population of the county is about 120,000, and is almost exclusively German in its origin. Wherever, numbers of years ago, there was a settlement of people of other nationalities, the subsequent steady influx of the German element has, by its intercourse and continual intermarriage, changed and modified the original characteristics, and thus rendered the entire population almost homogeneous. In the country districts, agriculture is the principal pursuit of the people, while in the city of Reading, mechanical industries claim the labor of nearly every one.
The soil throughout the county, especially in the regions overlying the strata of limestone, is rich and deep, but in the immediate proximity of the ridges and hills, is so thickly charged with small stones, as to be almost untillable.
The metamorphic or gneissic, the primeval sandstone, primeval slates, and auroral limestones, are the principal formations to be found in the county, although there are a few isolated tracts of calcareous breccia. The auroral strata and primal slates display a great amount of metamorphism, and their cleavage dips southeast. The different layers of the strata usually occur in a succession of isolated tracts, the primal sandstones forming, in general, the flanks and crests of many of the hills, sometimes, however, showing a monoclin al outcrop on the gneissic rocks, sometimes in anticlinals, while the limestone rests in the synclinal valleys. The supply of iron ore in this county is unusually large, and of very different characteristics. The principal ores are the red and brown hiematites, the magnetic, small quantities of the carbonate, and a great deal of pyrites.
The city of Reading receives its supply of water from a number of streams and springs issuing from the hills surrounding it.
There are five different springs, the water of which conjoined, forms the entire supply. An analysis of the water of each of these springs, with Nessler's test, gave negative results in every case. The water in the reservoir, tested in the same way, gave the same negative results. The water is remarkably free from limestone, but is heavily charged with carbonic acid. The chlorides are present in very small quantities. Not only is the water supply good in quality, but it is also very abundant in quantity.
Reading is situated in 40° 15' N. latitude, and 1° 3' E. longitade from Washington.
The thermometric scales, for every day from the the 1st of November, 1875, to the 1st of May, 1876, are added to the mortuary chart.
The mortality of Reading fluctuates very little from year to year, yet within the past six months there has been a decided increase of it, owing to the then and present epidemics of scarlatina and rubeola. The only two cases of variola, occurring within the city during that period, were imported, and were confined exclusively to the localities into which they were first brought.
One case originated in Reading from (indirect) contact, but beyond this single case, and the two first mentioned, by a little care on the part of the authorities, Reading has been free from it.
The present epidemic of scarlatina originated in July last from a case of the disease imported from Philadelphia, and from that time until the present has made such a spread that we can safely say no block (containing a number of children) has been free from it. VOL. XI.
The following data are computed from the 1st of November, 1875, when the disease was declared epidemic by the Board of Health, unto the 1st of May, 1876.
They were divided among the different wards, as follows :
ages of the person affected were as follows:
The youngest person affected was a babe of five weeks; the oldest, a woman of fifty-five years.