But to wait for contagion before taking action has been found an expensive way of learning where health protection is needed. Even when infected persons and physicians are prompt in reporting the presence of disease it is often found that conditions that produced the disease have been overlooked and neglected.

For example, smallpox comes very rarely to our cities to-day. Wherever boards of health are not worried by "children's diseases," as is often the case, and wait for some more fearful disease such as smallpox, there you will find that garbage in the streets, accumulated filth, surface sewers, congested houses, badly ventilated, unsanitary school buildings and churches are furnishing a soil to breed an epidemic in a surprisingly short time. Where, on the other hand, boards of health regard every communicable disease as a menace to health rights, you will find that health officials take certain steps in a certain order to remove the soil in which preventable diseases grow. These steps, worked out by the sanitarians of Europe and America after a century of experiment, are seen to be very simple and are applicable by the average layman and average physician to the simplest village or rural community. How many of these steps are taken by your city? by your county? by your state?

1. Notification of danger when it is first recognized.

2. Registration at a central office of facts as to each dangerous thing or person.

3. Examination of the seat of danger to discover its extent, its cost, and new seats of danger created by it.

4. Isolation of the dangerous thing or person.

5. Constant attention to prevent extension to other persons or things.

6. Destruction or removal of disease germs or other causes of danger.

7. Analysis and record, for future use, of lessons learned by experience.

8. Education of the public to understand its relation to danger checked or removed, its responsibility for preventing a recurrence of the same danger, and the importance of promptly recognizing and checking similar danger elsewhere.

With a chart showing what districts have the greatest number of children and adults suffering from measles, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, consumption, one can go within his own city or to a strange city and in a surprisingly short time locate the nuisances, the dangerous buildings, the open sewers, the cesspools, the houses without bathing facilities, the dark rooms, the narrow streets, the houses without play space and breathing space, the districts without parks, the polluted water sources, the unsanitary groceries and milk shops. In country districts a comparison of town with town as to the prevalence of infection will enable one easily to learn where slop water is thrown from the back stoop, whether the well, the barn, and the privy are near together.

The Baby, Not The Law, Is The Test Of Infant Protection In Country And In City

Testing health rights requires not only that there be a board of health keeping track of and publishing every case of infection, but it requires further that one community be compared with other communities of similar size, and that each community be compared with itself year for year. These comparisons have not been made and records do not exist in many states.