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The balance of the appropriation for preventing the introduction and spread of epidemic diseases at the beginning of the fiscal year was $331,476.69. An appropriation of $200,000 was provided by Congress, in addition to the available balance reappropriated. The expenditures were $234,023.65, leaving a balance June 30, 1906, of $297,453.04.
The appropriation for the maintenance of the quarantine service was $340,000. The amount of repayments was $1,702.19. The expenditures were $308,330.04, leaving a balance at the end of the fiscal year of $33,372.15. Deducting outstanding bills and liabilities leaves an estimated balance of $16,297.82.
National quarantine service.
The inspection, detention, and disinfection, when necessary, of all vessels prior to entry have been continued at 40 national domestic quarantine stations upon the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts of the United States. During the fiscal year 5,957 vessels have been inspected and 687 disinfected. National quarantine has been maintained at 8 stations in the ports of Porto Rico, 7 in Hawaii, and 7 in the Philippines.
Surveillance upon the Canadian and Mexican borders has been maintained to prevent the introduction overland of the quarantinable diseases.
Medical officers have been stationed at Ilavana, Matanzas, and Cienfuegos, Cuba; at 8 fruit ports in Central America; at Vera Cruz and Progreso in Mexico; at Guayaquil, Ecuador; Callao, Peru, and at Colon, Panama. These officers have continued to exercise supervision over outgoing vessels bound for the United States and its insular possessions and dependencies.
Under the act of Congress approved June 19, 1906, overtures have been made for the purchase from State authorities of the quarantine plants at ports where quarantine is necessary to prevent the introduction of yellow fever, namely: Galveston and other ports in Texas; Mississippi River Quarantine Station in Louisiana; Mobile in Alabama, and Charleston and other stations in South Carolina. The negotiations in most cases are still pending. South Carolina having by an act of legislature last winter provided for the transfer of her quarantines to the United States, the property of the State has been leased and the National Government has assumed the quarantine function.
The report of the Surgeon-General contains a detailed account of the epidemic of yellow fever in New Orleans and other portions of Louisiana, and in Mississippi and Florida, last summer and fall,
to which reference was made in my last annual report. Owing to sanitary measures adopted in the places infected and to great care in the administration of quarantine, there has been no recurrence of the fever during the summer and fall just past.
In accordance with Executive order of February 28, 1906, a sanitary inspection of the Government buildings and workshops, other than those under the Departments of War and Navy, in the District of Columbia, has been made by a board of officers appointed for this purpose, having for its object the prevention of tuberculosis among Government employees. Under the terms of the same order a like inspection will be made in other cities of the United States.
The prevalence of typhoid fever has been studied in several localities. In response to a request from the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, with the approval of the Treasury Department, a board of officers is now engaged in making a comprehensive investigation into the origin and prevalence of this disease in the District.
The investigation of leprosy at Molokai, Hawaii, provided for by act of Congress approved March 3, 1905, has been undertaken. The director of the station to be erected has been appointed. Plans of the buildings have been completed, and specifications and working drawings are now in course of preparation in the office of the Supervising Architect.
The Surgeon-General renews his recommendation for the establishment of a home for lepers in the United States.
Smallpox. Smallpox was reported during the fiscal year in 43 States and one Territory and the District of Columbia, with a total of 10,554 cases and 122 deaths. As shown by previous reports, there has been a steady annual decrease in this disease since 1902, in which year the number of cases was 55,857 and deaths 1,852.
In the Philippine Islands, during the fiscal year, there were 359 cases of Asiatic cholera and 321 deaths at Manila, and 4,087 cases and 3,033 deaths in the provinces outside of Manila. Careful quarantine of outgoing vessels prevented the disease from being carried to any other country.
The Second General International Sanitary Convention of the American Republics was held in Washington October 9-14, 1905, at which 11 republics were represented. A convention dealing with plague, cholera, and yellow fever was signed ad referendum, and was ratified by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate May 29, 1906. Most of the republics represented have likewise confirmed the agreement, and it is believed that all the American republics will adopt it, as recommended by resolution of the International Conference of American States at Rio de Janeiro in July and August of the present year.
The fourth annual conference of State and Territorial boards of health with the Surgeon-General of the Public Health and MarineHospital Service was held in Washington May 23, 1906. Twentyseven States, one Territory, and the District of Columbia were represented. The subjects of discussion were car sanitation, pollution of water supplies, and prevention of tuberculosis.
The Life-Saving Establishment at the close of the fiscal year embraced 278 stations, distributed as follows: Atlantic and Gulf coasts, 200; coasts of the Great Lakes, 60; Falls of the Ohio (Louisville, Ky.), 1; Pacific coast, 17 (including a station at Nome, Alaska).
The number of documented vessels sustaining disaster within the scope of station operations during the year was 357. There were 4,099 persons on board these vessels, of whom 19 were lost. The value of property imperiled is estimated at $14,736,350, viz: Vessels, $10,187,545; cargoes, $4,548,805. The estimated value of property saved was $11,972,280, and of property lost $2,764,070. The number of vessels totally lost was 49.
Undocumented vessels-sailboats, row boats, etc.—to the number of 491 sustained casualties involving 1,221 persons, of whom 10 were lost. The estimated value of property involved was $304,790, of which $293,820 was saved and $10,970 lost.
There were succored at the stations 811 persons, 1,727 days' relief being furnished.
The foregoing figures aggregate as follows: Number of disasters
848 Vessels totally lost
49 Number of persons involved.
5, 320 Number of persons lost .
29 Number of shipwrecked persons succored at stations
811 Number of days' succor afforded.
1,727 Value of property involved...
$15, 041, 140 Value of property saved
$12, 266, 100 Value of property lost .
The station crews also rendered assistance of more or less importance to many vessels not included in the preceding figures, the total number to which aid was extended being 1,245. The lives of 66 persons who had fallen from docks, wharfs, etc., or who were otherwise in dangerous situations not connected with vessels, were saved. One hundred and seventy-four vessels were warned of danger by the signals of the patrolmen and watchmen of the Service in time to avert disaster. These warnings were given at night in 161 instances, and in 13 cases during the day in thick weather. Ninety-seven of these vessels were steamers.
The net expenditure for the maintenance of the Service during the year was $1,832,465.93.
The stations at Cape Henry, Va., and Fletchers Neck, Me., mentioned last year as in process of rebuilding, were completed during the year. Extensive improvements were also made to a number of other stations.
Sites were selected during the year for new stations at Fishermans Island and Myrtle Island, Virginia, and steps taken to secure a site for a new station on Neah Bay, Washington, pursuant to act of Congress approved April 19, 1906.
Titles have been secured to sites for new stations at Eagle Harbor, Mich., Tillamook, Oreg., and Bethany Beach, Del.
The Service sustained considerable loss in the earthquake and fire disaster which devastated San Francisco in April last. Its storehouse was wrecked and burned, and life-saving apparatus and miscellaneous station supplies to the value of several thousand dollars were destroyed. The life-saving stations at and in the vicinity of San Francisco were also considerably damaged by the earthquake. The crews of the stations affected, however, were able to render much valuable service in fighting the fire, transporting supplies, succoring the homeless, and in other ways ministering to the needs of the victims of the disaster.
The coast telephone system has been improved and extended as the needs of the Service required. Upward of 1,500 miles of line are now in operation. On the Long Island and New Jersey coasts a number of patrol telephones have been installed midway between stations with a view of securing to the keepers speedy news of the occurrence of shipwreck, and such information of attendant circumstances and conditions as will enable them to determine what apparatus it is advisable to convey to the place where the rescue of life and property is to be attempted, thus saving much valuable time. This new feature also additionally safeguards the patrol system.
For some years the Service has been engaged upon the problem of the application of mechanical power to the lifeboats used at the stations. In 1899 a gasoline motor was installed in a self-righting and
self-bailing lifeboat at the Marquette station, with fair results. The tests made, however, suggested a number of important improvements, which were adopted and advantageously applied to another boat. Subsequently, power was installed in several of the largest Service lifeboats with results that have fully demonstrated the great value of this addition to the life-saving equipment. During the past year seven additional self-righting and self-bailing lifeboats were supplied with gasoline motors and one new power boat was constructed. These boats have enlarged the scope of the Service wherever they have been placed and expedited its operations by enabling the lifesaving crews to respond more promptly to calls of distress and to cover great distances more speedily and safely than was possible by oars and sails alone. They are capable, also, of being maneuvered with greater facility and less danger wherever the depth of water renders their use practicable. It is proposed to place them, as rapidly as available funds will permit, at all stations where they can be advantageously used.
Important improvements have also been made in the boat wagons and the apparatus carts of the Service, as well as in several other appliances used in wreck operations, all of which have contributed to the effectiveness of work on the beach.
While it is gratifying to note these betterments in the wrecking equipment, and the generally effective condition of the materiel of the Service, I am compelled to admit a steady decline in the efficiency of the personnel during recent years in consequence of the inability to offer adequate inducement to proved veterans to remain in the Service or to promising recruits to fill the places of those who leave. Owing to the great advance in wages in outside and less dangerous employment, and the increased cost of living, this decline has been constant, and has now become a matter of serious concern. rule, the most capable men now in the crews are those who have past the vigorous period of life, while the best brawn and muscle have quit, and the vacancies have had to be filled by inferior men. Those of advanced years, and necessarily more or less impaired vigor, ought not, it is true, to be subjected to, or relied upon to endure, the hardships incident to the vocation of a surfman, but they are retained because under existing conditions they are the best to be had.
During the progress of this decadence attention has been several times called to the necessity of remedial measures, and what are regarded as the only two adequate remedies have been pointed out. The choice lies between an increase in the compensation of keepers and surfmen and a provision for their retirement upon a suitable rate of pay. The Department has recommended the adoption of the latter as being much less expensive, more desired by the corps, and more consistent with the spirit of the age as evidenced by the