The best guarantee against such loss, the best protection of health, and the most essential element of vital statistics is prompt, complete record of cases of sickness. Statistics of sickness are confined to sickness from transmissible diseases, because we have not yet arrived at the point where we recognize the state's right to require information, except when the sick person is a menace to the health of other persons.

The annual report of a board of health should give as clear a picture of a community's health during the past week or past quarter as the ergograph gives of the pupils mentioned on page 126. As ragged, rapidly shortening lines show nervousness and depleted vitality, so charts and diagrams can be made to show the needless waste of infant life during the summer months, the price paid for bad ventilation in winter time, when closed windows cause the sickness-and-death line from diphtheria and scarlet fever to shoot up from the summer level. In cities it is now customary for health boards to report weekly the number of deaths from transmissible diseases. Health officers will gladly furnish facts as to cases of sickness, if citizens request them. Newspapers will gladly publish such information if any one will take the pains to supply it. Wherever newspapers have published this information, it quickly takes its place with the weather reports among the news necessities. Marked changes are commented on editorially. Children can easily be interested, as can adults, in filling out week by week a table that will show increases and decreases in preventable sickness due to transmissible diseases.

Table X

Cases of Infectious and Contagious Diseases Reported

 WEEK ENDING
Oct. 26Nov. 2Nov. 9Nov. 16Nov. 23Nov. 30Dec. 7Dec. 14Dec. 21Dec. 28Jan. 4Jan. 11Jan. 18
Tuberculosis pulmonalis350350317364345337422360354308344432402
Diphtheria and croup313264283331282343326369338347308370406
Measles142212203261293323472471517346581691803
Scarlet fever208228231252278323372397417426478562585
Smallpox1124322
Varicella40839116213611516716019812398199169
Typhoid fever106105107123867771623542375536
Whooping cough6131514279812193252414
Cerebro-spinal meningitis6113448151376 111613
Total1171126712501512145115351855184418881603188223512428