Idaho 1918-1920 Influenza Pandemic
Idaho Newspaper clippings January 29-30, 1920
Idaho photos courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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The Grangeville Globe. January 29, 1920, Page 1
“Flu” Epidemic Conditions Not Serious; Invades Many Families
Board of Health Adopt Strict Quarantine Regulations to Assist in Avoiding Spread of Disease; Public Places Closed
The presence of a number of cases Grangeville the first of the week prompted the necessity of formulating and meeting the emergency of an epidemic, and acting on instructions received from the state board of health Mayor Campbell called a meeting of the board of health of the City of Grangeville, consisting of Dr. B. Chipman, chairman, and councilmen Lingo and Riutcel, to meet with the physicians of Grangeville, on Tuesday evening. The county superintendent, Superintendent Lukens, and Mrs. B. Lanningham representing the local chapter of the Red Cross were present.
The sentiment of all who were present, including local physicians, was that prompt and strict measures be taken to prevent the epidemic from becoming serious. And as a first precaution Dr. Chipman stated that a quarantine of all reported cases in the city would be had, and requested the doctors to report all cases and at the same time he procured a statement of absences from school with a view of investigating cases in the city where no physician had been called. It was determined to close all public schools, but no steps were planned at the meeting, this matter being left open.
Tuesday hand bills were ordered printed and placards made for posting asking the people of the city to cooperate with the board of health in getting control and stamping out the flu. It was asked that every one move along and tend strictly to their business, not to gather in public places, stay at home, and to report all cases as soon as possible to Dr. Chipman and above all to observe the quarantine when families were quarantined.
The increasing number of children absent from school either by reason of being ill or on account of being taken out of school by parents to prevent exposure to the disease, made it advisable in the opinion of Superintendent Lukens and the members of the school board to close the schools.
Wednesday evening the board of health acting on the advice of Dr. Chipman, requested that the mayor order all places of public amusement and gatherings to suspend until further order, and the picture show was closed, and pool hall proprietors were instructed to cover tables, remove chairs and prevent loafing in their places of business. The hotels were also instructed to keep their lobbies clear and cards were printed and put up in all business places requesting people to move along. These regulations and rules imposed by the board of health will be strictly enforced, and violators will be prosecuted if the necessity should arise.
Local business men all expressed willingness to cooperate heartily with the board of health to enforce the rules against congregating and loafing and to keep the crowd moving until the situation should be relieved. Another police officer was put on to assist in enforcing the regulations and minors will not under any circumstances be permitted to be on the streets or in business places, except on good excuse, and will be expected to stay at home during the continuance of the present regulations. The officers are instructed to enforce this provision strictly.
Although there are a number of cases in the city, only a few have been reported serious. However it was thought best to take steps to prevent the spread of the epidemic and get it under control and not to wait until conditions got so bad that there would be small chance of handling the situation. Hearty cooperation of everyone will make the task more pleasant for the board of health and city officials and will assist in cutting down the number of cases so that the epidemic will soon pass and ordinary business be resumed.
The state department of public welfare is kept busy sending out literature regarding the influenza, with statement of the condition, new prevalent over the state, and giving advice in connection therewith. Among them is the following:
“This office urges that the communities not become alarmed, but calmly view the situation, assist the local health officers by refraining from attending gatherings of any kind whatsoever, as the foremost authorities on public health agree that places of public gatherings are breeding spots for the transmission of the contagion.
“For the protection of those members of the family who have not contracted the “Flu,” when an inmate of their household is down, it is essential that all dishes and tableware be boiled before being used or placed in contact with other dishes, etc. Here again the foremost medical men agree is the chief avenue of the contagion. Keep the home properly ventilated and when coughing or sneezing be sure to cover the mouth and nose with a handkerchief. This is called “droplet infection” and medical men recognize it as an important avenue for the transmission of the contagion.”
Opinions of Physicians
From the daily press we glean the following expressions from well known physicians:
“All attempts by army physicians to determine last year how influenza is communicated were unavailing.”
“Atmospheric and climatic conditions bring out influenza and quarantining does not limit or confine it.”
“Persons who have the proper blood pressure do not contract the disease, and those who pressure is low do, quarantine or no quarantine.”
“There is no more use in quarantining against influenza than against mosquitoes.”
But it goes without saying that if you are ill the proper place for you is at home and not on the streets, and to overcome the disease you must stay within the home and observe the rules that have been laid down by the physicians if you expect to recover. Care and the strict observance of the physicians orders is what is needed for speedy recovery.
Regular Term for Lewis County is Deferred by Judge Scales.
The regular term of the district court for Lewis county which was set for Monday, February 2, has been postponed by Judge Wallace N. Scales. The judge had made arrangements to depart for Nezperce on Sunday but on conversing with the officers of that county it was deemed advisable to postpone the term owing to the influenza. Just when the term will be convened will depend on the subsiding of the epidemic.
J. E. McPherson Dead
Well Known Pioneer Passed Away This Morning From Diabetes
John Edward McPherson, aged 57 years, 9 months and 23 days, died at the family residence in this city early this morning, the 29th, leaving the widow and five children, three boys and two girls, to mourn is taking away. The children, all of whom reside in and near Grangeville, are as follows: Howard, Marlon, Glenwood, Mrs. Minnie Chamberlain and Mrs. Zettie Chamberlain.
Funeral services will be held at the residence in the southeast part of the city at 2:30 Friday afternoon, W. N. Knox officiating, and E. S. Hancock funeral director.
Deceased was born in Missouri and came to Idaho many years ago where he engaged in farming. For the past several years he as resided in this city, having amassed a considerable fortune from his business operations. He had been a sufferer for the past five years from diabetes. He was seen on the streets early this week and contracted a slight attack of the “flu” which aggravated the disease with which he was afflicted.
source: The Grangeville Globe. (Grangeville, Idaho), 29 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Grangeville Globe. January 29, 1920, Page 7
Meeting of the County Board of Health
State of Idaho, County of Idaho, ss.
Be it known that on this Monday the 19th day of January, 1920 the County Board of Health meets in called session at the omce [sic] of the Board of County Commissioners at the Court house, in Grangeville, Idaho.
Members present, Dr. G. S. Stockton, Clerk of said board and John D. Long, President, and Dale Clark and Edward S. Vincent, members.
After discussing of matters affecting its duties the following resolution was unanimously adopted:
It appearing to the board that a demand has been received by the County Board of Health of this county from the State Board of Health, directing that steps be taken to prepare for an out break of the influenza. It is hereby ordered that all incorporated cities, towns, villages and other communities shall prepare to take care of all cases of influenza of such cities, towns, villages and communities, maintaining a strict isolation of all such cases, and that the expense of such isolation and care be a charge against each separate city, town, village or community and not against the county. It is further ordered that the county Commissioners will not be responsible for any charges made, nor pay any claims filed by physicians or quarantine officers in the care and isolation of influenza cases occurring in this county.
There being no further business the board here adjourned sine die.
John D. Long, President
Attest: Dr. G. S. Stockton, Clerk.
(ibid, page 7)
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The Grangeville Globe. January 29, 1920, Page 8
Quite a number of people are absent from their usual places of business this week on account of sickness. Some have contracted the “flu” and others who have slight colds are remaining inside to administer the proper treatment and to avoid contact with the disease while in a receptive mood. A good idea.
Rehearsals of the home talent play “The Girl from France,” like all other activities of a public nature, have been temporarily halted during the prevalence of the influenza quarantine. The play was slated to be produced at an early date for the benefit of the local fire department. It is the intention of those in the case to resume rehearsals and to plan for the early production of the piece as soon as the influenza ban is lifted. Home talent plays are always a real treat in Grangeville and the forthcoming presentation has been assured the hearty support of all.
To be on the safe side and help to prevent an epidemic of the influenza, there will be no services next Sunday. Let us all use every precaution.
H. S. Randall, Pastor
Broth For “Flu” Patients
Mrs. Bert Lanningham, together with members of the Grangeville Red Cross, have been arrangements to prepare broth for families who are sick and are short of help, and to send this to such families on notice.
Although there are a few cases of “flu” in town the movie show and dance at Zerr’s hall was well attended. Several young people from Doumecq were down.
The children of the seventh grade enjoyed a party at the Thompson home Saturday night.
On the same evening the high school students surprised their classmate L. Lennons. The evening was spent playing games.
Word has been received that Mr. Nail, cashier of the bank here, is ill at the White Hospital in Lewiston. Mrs. Nail and the children are in Grangeville.
(ibid, page 8)
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Jerome County Times., January 29, 1920, Page 2
Says Influenza is Unconquered
London — Official admission that the most mysterious disease germ of the ages – the influenza bacillus – has defeated the world’s greatest scientists was made to Universal Service Saturday by Sir George Newman, chief medical officer of the British health ministry.
source: Jerome County Times. (Jerome, Idaho), 29 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Emmett Index. January 29, 1920, Page 1
Influenza Epidemic Spreads
Few Families Escape Around Sweet – Disease Not Severe – No Fatalities So Far
The influenza epidemic in Gem county may be summed up as follows: The high point is in the Squaw creek country, where 81 cases were reported Monday. Zeke Sweet, who was in town, says only two families in that community had escaped. In other portions of the county, the disease is much less general. It is not nearly so severe in character as last year, and so far there have been no fatalities. Everywhere, there is lack of nurses and help of any kind.
In the Squaw creek country the help situation has been a serious one, entire families being sick and being compelled to take care of each other the best they can, in most cases. The good people who are not sick at Sweet and Montour have been supplying the afflicted with soup and bread.
The Bank of Emmett employees were hard hit and all at once, V. T. Craig, Misses Norwood, Marler and Gamage, all being stricken at once. When the bank opened for business Monday, Ed Hayes was behind the cashier’s window assisting Lauren Dean, and A. O. Sutton and Tillie Peterson were assisting Mrs. Dean with the bookkeeping. All the afflicted ones were reported better yesterday and will soon be back on the job again.
Billy Wilton’s real estate office opened up Tuesday morning with Col. Jim Barnard at the desk and threatening to sell everything listed at auction sale unless Bill got well p.d.q., which had the desired effect, and Bill tried to make it down town yesterday but while the spirit was willing his legs were wobbly and wouldn’t track.
The Boise Payette mill was hit hard and many of its employees have been off duty. Bob Burlingame has been working night and day, three of his assistants being sick. One of the mill houses has been turned into a hospital, where men without families are being cared for.
In the city and the country districts the help proposition is as serious as in the upper country, and calls for nurses are constant, but cannot be filled.
Dr. Byrd returned today from a trip to Squaw creek, and reports the situation there greatly improved. Most of the patients are convalescent and there are only a few who are real sick.
The epidemic is playing havoc with the attendance in the schools, among both pupils and teachers. High school attendance was, early in the week, almost alarmingly depleted, but is increasing and there seems to be no cases of serious illness. The problem of providing High school teachers was a difficult one. Prof. Godwin has taken double work and Rev. Jas. Adams consented to help out a few days; it is expected by next week the teaching force will be normal. In the grades, Mrs. Walter Brown is substituting for Miss Quinn who is ill, and Mrs. Karl Mann is filling the place of Miss Gruber, the latter remaining at home to care for Miss Quinn and Mrs. Gamage.
Mrs. Sidney Douglass, living in Circle addition, died this afternoon of pneumonia following influenza. The Douglass family were former residents of the Ola country.
Postpone Road Meeting
Prevalence of Flu and Bad Roads Make Change Advisable
No more forcible argument in favor of the good roads program in Gem county has been presented than this: That it has become necessary to postpone the good roads conference, to have been held Friday of this week, because of the almost impassible condition of the roads. The flu epidemic also was another factor.
The road committee has advised the Commercial Club that the meeting has been postponed indefinitely, as road conditions and sickness would prevent a general attendance from all portions of the county, which is very much desired.
source: The Emmett Index. (Emmett, Idaho), 29 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Emmett Index. January 29, 1920, Page 8
News of Gem County
By the Index’s Correspondents
The Davis Hunter family are all down with the flu. Lelia has been quite sick and under the care of Dr. Cummings, but is better at this time.
The Ed Heightsman family, who have had quite a siege of sickness are all up and around now.
School attendance is rather small this week, so many of the children being out on account of sickness.
Quite a number of folks went down to the river bridge Tuesday to see the big ice jam.
The South Slope school is arranging for a school entertainment to take place on some date in February.
A doctor was called to the Henderson home last week. At this writing all the flu patients are up and on the road to recovery.
Dr. Cummings was called to Bismark Youtsler’s Friday and pronounced their trouble the flu. At present writing all in the family have had it except the baby. All are up, with the exception of Bismark and he is gaining fast.
Mrs. A. E. Pomeroy helped at Youtsler’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Mrs. Reese came down from Emmett.
Allan Newell has been helping with the chores at Youtslers for a week.
Mr. Gaines is doing chores for Dan Hansen, who is ill with the flu, as are all of his family.
Our school is quite small at present, down to 15 one day. When a teacher is used to 40 or more it must seem easy to handle 15.
Mrs. Wampler helped with the sick until Wednesday.
Dr. Polly came down Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to see Mrs. Pomeroy, who is ill with the flu. She nursed her home folks, then was Good Samaritan to the neighbors and finally came down herself.
May and Chiles Riggs are recovering from the influenza.
The Ballenger family are up again after a siege of the prevailing epidemic.
Mrs. Lester Applegate was ill several days last week.
Mr. and Mrs. Kiggins came down from Emmett Tuesday, the latter prepared to stay and nurse her mother, whom she understood had the flu. She was agreeable surprised to find Mrs. Bott in her usual health, tho she and Mr. Bott had waited on Mrs. Henderson’s family through their illness.
The ice gorges in the river are the occasion of considerable apprehension to people on the low lands. The road to the bench is cut off because of the condition of the small red bridge, both approaches being washed out. A big gorge is lodged near the Burton place and another is reported to be following, having passed Emmett. The county officials have been blasting and breaking up ice about the Letha bridge for several days.
(ibid, page 8)
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Oregon Short Line Railroad, Victor, Idaho January 18, 1927
Photo courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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Idaho County Free Press. January 29, 1920, Page 1
Many Influenza Cases, But All In Mild Form, Is Doctor’s Opinion
Places of Amusement Closed and Public Gatherings Are Forbidden by Authorities
City Health Department Exerts Every Effort to Stamp Out Malady in Grangeville
Between sixty and seventy-five cases of Spanish influenza exist in Grangeville, but no person affected with the disease is in critical condition. This was the statement made Thursday afternoon by Dr. B. Chipman, city health officer.
Twenty families in Grangeville are under quarantine. Number of cases of illness in the families from one to nine. No pneumonia cases exist, said Dr. Chipman. Most cases of influenza are in mild form.
Cases Are Quarantined
Individual quarantine of families in which the disease prevails were determined upon Monday following a meeting of the board of health, local physicians, school and Red Cross heads, called by Mayor W. L. Campbell.
The public schools were closed Wednesday evening and on Thursday, on order of the board of health, all public gatherings were suspended, pool halls and the picture show were closed and every measure of precaution to prevent spread of the disease was taken.
More than 100 pupils were absent from the public schools the first three days of the week.
Statement To Public
Mayor Campbell and Dr. Chipman, in a joint communication to the public outlining measures for protection against spread of the disease.
“You can help by not attending public meetings, dances, or places of amusement until danger is past.
“By reporting all cases to the health officer.
“By observing strictly the quarantine if you are quarantined.
“By sending for your physician to advise and care for the patient.
“By moving along and attending to necessary business and occupations. Do not gather in public places. Stay at home.”
source: Idaho County Free Press. (Grangeville, Idaho), 29 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Idaho County Free Press. January 29, 1920, Page 6
Local News In Brief
Recovering — Mrs. Pat Toal of Mount Idaho is recovering from a severe illness which was for a time a matter of grave concern to her friends.
Federated Church — To be on the safe side and help to prevent an epidemic of influenza there will be no services next Sunday. H. S. Randall, pastor.
Court Postponed — Owing to prevalence of Spanish influenza, Judge Scales has postponed for one week the opening of the February term of district court in Lewis county. Court was scheduled to convene in Nezperce next Monday.
(ibid, page 6)
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The Daily Star-Mirror., January 29, 1920, Page 1
Influenza Spreads Over United States
Local Situation About The Same – Chicago Deaths increase – At Lewiston
The influenza situation is the chief topic of interest throughout the United States. The disease is spreading slowly but it is mild in most places. Comparatively few deaths are reported. There are a few very serious cases in Moscow and at least three more deaths are expected almost any time, but many of the cases are mild and some of those who were taken ill when the disease first appeared, are again out on the streets.
Mrs. Peter Sonna, mother of Mrs. S. E. Hutton, of Moscow, died at Los Angeles, California, this morning of pneumonia, following influenza, showing the disease is widespread. Chicago reports a marked increase in pneumonia cases, many deaths from pneumonia and influenza but the number of new cases of influenza has decreased rapidly and steadily since last Saturday, the high point of the wave.
Spokane has hundreds of cases and is fitting up an emergency hospital in the old skating rink. Every town, village, city and settlement in the west reports the disease increasing. Pullman has only about 100 cases but is preparing for the worst. Pullman had more than 100 deaths during the siege last year.
Lewiston is also fitting up an emergency hospital and three deaths were reported from there yesterday. The Lewiston Tribune of this morning says:
Three More Victims Yesterday
The need of the emergency hospital was brought to the attention of the officials yesterday with impelling force when it was learned that the two Lewiston hospitals are already filled to congestion and that there are many cases of influenza in the city that should be in hospitals where the care of trained nurses will be available. Three additional deaths in the city as a result of the epidemic caused the officials to take prompt action to provide the needed hospital facilities.
There were many new cases of influenza reported yesterday and the three victims of the disease were:
John Clinton Sherar, aged 54 years.
Gaylord Skinner, aged 15 months.
Mrs. Frances Stafford, aged 19 years.
There were five deaths in the city yesterday but the other two deaths were not caused by influenza.
The emergency hospital will be conducted by the Red Cross and all matters connected with its management will be in the hands of the Red Cross officials. Telegrams were sent out last night to secure the necessary equipment and it is expected the hospital will be in readiness to receive patients by the first of the week.
The Masons were more than willing to furnish their quarters for the care of the afflicted and the best of facilities will be available. There are about twelve large rooms on the two floors that can be devoted to hospital purposes. A complete kitchen is already in place and plenty of dishes are in the closets for all purposes. The rooms are all well heated, well ventilated and are served with hot and cold water.
Mrs. S. E. Hutton’s Mother Called Home
Mrs. Peter Sonna, of Boise Died at Los Angeles Thursday A.M.
Word reached Moscow Thursday that Mrs. Peter Sonna, of Boise had died at Los Angeles that morning. The news came in a telegram from Mrs. S. E. Hutton, who was with her mother at the time. She asked that Moscow friends be notified. Mrs. Sonna’s death was due to pneumonia, following influenza. The funeral arrangements had not been made when the telegram was sent. …
Chicago Has More Deaths
Chicago — (By A. P.) — Pneumonia, following influenza, reached the highest level of the present epidemic today. There were 407 new cases of pneumonia and 70 deaths reported. Influenza continued to subside, there being 87 deaths from influenza.
source: The Daily Star-Mirror. (Moscow, Idaho), 29 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Daily Star-Mirror., January 29, 1920, Page 2
Have Mercy On “Central”
There is merit to the appeal of the Moscow Telephone and Telegraph Company, published elsewhere in this issue to not call “Central” unless it is absolutely necessary. Nearly half of the operating force is sick. The girls are overworked. Those now working may be stricken at any time. They need assistance instead of being bothered by unnecessary calls.
If every one would refrain from calling “Central” or using the telephone except when absolutely necessary, those who have to use the system would get better service. This applies 12 months in the year, but especially is it true now. So many people call the telephone office to ask unnecessary questions.
The Moscow operators have always been very obliging and accommodating. They have given the best service possible and they never complain. They never have been uncivil in answering although there is no doubt they have had thousands of provocations.
In this time of distress, when homes are quarantined and operators are sick and the sick and the doctors have to use the telephone so much, let those who are not sick or quarantined or unable to get away from home, refrain from using the telephone except when absolutely necessary. If every patron will cut down his or her calls one or two a day (and not one of us but use the telephone unnecessarily at least that often) it will make a wonderful saving on the girls. Remember they are human and are working over time and if one or two more have to quit work the system will be demoralized. When the influenza wave is over you will feel better for having helped in this way and will get a better services.
(ibid, page 2)
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The Daily Star-Mirror., January 29, 1920, Page 3
The American Legion is prepared to help any of their members or families who may be ill of influenza. If assistance is needed, telephone S. E. Mnoaham at 346 or 302Z.
Mrs. H. Kalinowski and daughter, Miss Madoline, arrived home today from Portland, called by the illness of Weldon Kalinowski.
(ibid, page 3)
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The Nezperce Herald., January 29, 1920, Page 1
District Court Be Postponed To Feb. 9
[Judge] Scales So Orders Because [of] Influenza Outbreak – Of [?] Cases Docketed, Six for Divorce
… influenza making its appearance in Lewis county during [the past] week, with a tendency … into an epidemic, Judge … Scales yesterday issued an … postponing the February … district court from the … the 9th, which order is as … [story cut off]
Nezperce Has Return Of The Influenza
Two Families In Town and Several In Country Stricken – No Fatalities – Observe Quarantine; Schools Close
Until the first of the week this town had escaped the recurrence of influenza, while it had been making serious inroads in several neighboring communities, Kamiah, in particular reporting a large number of cases. Then reports coming from the surrounding farming section indicated that the malady had gained a foothold in at least four families. With this information at hand, and 1918’s sad experience still fresh in the memory of the community, it was decided to take steps to forestall as far as possible the spread of the disease here. County Attorney Pennell held a conference with County Health Officer Dr. E. Taylor, of Kamiah, the result of which was a visit to our city yesterday by the latter. After investigating the situation Dr. Taylor order the closing of the public schools and all public gathering places, and the cancelling of all contemplated public gatherings. This ruling has been strictly followed.
As The Herald goes to press late this evening, 16 defined cases of influenza are reported in town, these being in the families of L. J. Rowe, Roy Lyons, Mrs. Covey, B. F. Oakley, Frank Thompson and A. E. Wade. None of these are said to be serious and some are well on the way to recovery.
In the adjacent country cases are reported at the homes of John Gehrke, Clarence Eastman, Ed. Reed, Percy Marker, and Abel Newton. These are in various stages of the disease, but none seem to be extreme.
Frank Shaw, who was stricken with pneumonia five days ago, died at 5:20 this evening. He has been employed in the B. J. Fike garage here for some time, but his family is on a homestead in Montana, and funeral plans await the arrival of his oldest son, who is enroute. Little is known of him here. His was not an influenza case.
In time of flu, “keep the mind and system open and the heart free from fear.”
Frank Shaw, an employee in the B. J. Fike garage in this city, was stricken with pneumonia five days ago and yesterday his condition was extremely serious, but he rallied and is said to be considerably improved today.
J. M. Vorhies, who is visiting in the city from northeast of Greer, states the flu became epidemic in his neighborhood the first of the week, and the schools there – the Cottonwood district – which had an attendance of 72 last Friday, closed yesterday when the attendance had dwindled to 13.
State Health Board Offers Flu Suggestion
Boise, Jan. 26. — This office urges that the communities not become alarmed, but calmly view the situation, assist the local officers by refraining from attending public gatherings, moving picture shows, dance halls, etc., as the foremost authorities on public health agree that these places are breeding spots for the transmission of the contagion.
For the protection of those members of the family who have not “flu,” when an inmate of their household is down, it is essential that all dishes and table ware be boiled. Here again the foremost medical men agree is the second chief avenue of the contagion. Keep the home properly ventilated and when coughing or sneezing be sure to cover the mouth and nose with a handkerchief. This is called “droplet infection” and the foremost medical men recognize it as an important avenue for the transmission of contagion.
For Preventing Influenza
The Herald republishes the following article from its issue of November 7, 1918, by request:
Geo. P. Christenson submits the following as coming from a doctor with whom he was well acquainted back in his old home state and whom he knows to be capable and reliable:
Goldfield, Ia., Oct. 9. — Believing I have an effective preventative for grippe or influenza, and hoping it may be considered important enough to warrant publication, I herewith submit my remedy which I have used for years to my own satisfaction.
Let any one go to a drug store and buy a four drachm homeopathic vial and fill it loosely with absorbent cotton. Pour into this vial enough of the ordinary commercial 40 percent formaldehyde to thoroughly saturate the cotton. Stop the vial with a well-fitted cork and you have a remedy that will prevent or destroy any infection that is communicated by inspiration thru the air passages.
Respectfully yours, A. S. Cunningham, M. D.
source: The Nezperce Herald. (Nezperce, Idaho), 29 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Train Depot, Vollmer, Idaho
Photo courtesy: the Mike Fritz Collection, History of Idaho
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The Rathdrum Tribune., January 30, 1920, Page 1
Idaho State News Items
Influenza continues to invade new areas in Idaho, but the situation as a whole was somewhat improved Jan. 26, according to the state medical director at Boise. Out of over 1400 cases of influenza in the state since Jan. 8, only two deaths from influenza were reported, and five deaths from pneumonia.
A Nez Perce rural school district, joined with another to form a high school district, will not be permitted to withdraw therefrom, notwithstanding that the high school costs it $2700 annually, while only two students from the complaining district attend it. So ruled Attorney General Black Friday.
In a ruling on the Lewiston case, the attorney general and state superintendent declare a school district cannot legally issue bonds or deficiency warrants in payment of increases in teachers’ salaries in excess of the amount appropriated in the current year’s budget.
In a week’s work in Madison county, 345 cattle were tested for tuberculosis and no reactors were found.
From Over The County
Complying with a request by the teachers for increased pay, the Coeur d’Alene school board granted a bonus of $100 to each teacher and the superintendent, and $50 to each janitor of the city schools, to be paid at the end of the term.
Owing to an oversight in fixing precinct boundaries the Washington Water Power island in the Spokane river and its inhabitants are not in any voting precinct. The condition was discovered by John Peters, census enumerator.
A. W. Klein, graduate of a diving school, repaired the water main in the Spokane river.
World News In Brief
Inferior sanitary arrangements on the Russo-Polish frontier are said to be responsible for the alarming epidemic of typhus in Poland and the Baltic provinces. More than a million cases of the disease have been report to Red Cross officials.
source: The Rathdrum Tribune. (Rathdrum, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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The Oakley Herald. January 30, 1920, Page 6
Any who would be willing to nurse cases of influenza are requested to leave their names with Dr. Nielson.
The health lecture at the opera house last Thursday was well attended and instructive. The lecture was repeated the following day for the benefit of the school children. Both the Academy and the public school dismissed to allow the students to attend.
Mrs. Rhea Jones has recovered from a serious illness of influenza and pneumonia.
Fred Van Wynen is recovering from an illness.
E. E. Stock’s baby, who has been very ill, is reported to be improving.
Revolt and Plague at Moscow
Helsingfors. — Report from Dorpat say a revolt has broke out in the red garrison at Moscow, and that the people’s commissaries at Moscow have moved to Tver owing to the spread of the plague.
source: The Oakley Herald. (Oakley, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Clearwater Republican. January 30, 1920, Page 1
135 Cases of “Flu” In County
One hundred and thirty-five cases of the influenza have been reported by the local physicians. Ten cases were found in this territory last Sunday, 19 on Monday, 39 on Tuesday and 68 all told up to Wednesday morning. Yesterday seven more cases were reported in Orofino and 60 in the Fraser district, bring the total to the astounding number of 135 cases. The flu seems to be of a light character and no deaths or pneumonia have been reported to date.
source: Clearwater Republican. (Orofino, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Clearwater Republican. January 30, 1920, Page 2
Fred De Bolt Dead
Young Man Succumbed to Pneumonia Following Influenza
Lewiston, Jan. 28. — Yesterday morning at the home of his sister, Mrs. Carl Porter, on Normal Hill, Fred DeBolt, a popular young resident of Lewiston, passed away, a victim of pneumonia that developed from an attack of influenza. Mr. DeBolt was taken ill on Monday, Jan 19.
The deceased, who was born at Moscow, was 20 year old on March 4, last. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. C. DeBolt, died a number of years ago and for the past six years the youth has made his home with Mr. and Mrs. Carl Porter at Juliaetta. When the Porters moved to Lewiston he accompanied them here and he has been an employee at the R. C. Beach company store. He is survived by Mrs. Porter, another sister, Mrs. Marsh Paine of Pendleton, and a brother, Frank DeBolt, who is an employee of the Hub store Lewiston.
The deceased was a member of the Woodmen of the World lodge and he served for a year in the marines during the war, being stationed at Galveston, Texas.
The funeral will be held Thursday afternoon from the Vassar chapel, Rev. J. D. Keith of the Presbyterian church officiating.
The people of Orofino will remember Fred DeBolt as a former student of the Orofino high school. He left Orofino to enlist in the Marines.
(ibid, page 2)
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Cottonwood Chronicle. January 30, 1920, Page 1
Influenza Again Makes Its Appearance; No Serious Cases
The influenza epidemic, which last year cost the lives of thousands of young men and women and even elderly people has again made its appearance in various sections of the country, and this immediate section of the country is no exception. At the present time there are perhaps some 30 cases in the city and surrounding country, but as most of the cases are in a mild stage there is no great cause for alarm and of people losing their heads, as was stated by one of Cottonwood’s physicians. However the greatest caution should be taken by everyone to guard against the epidemic spreading.
None of the schools in the city have been closed with the exception of the high school which was dismissed Thursday morning on account of some of the teachers being absent and ill. On Friday morning 24 high school students out of 55 reported for work and as Superintendent Lustie and Principal Hannon were numbered among the sick the high school was again dismissed for the day.
Lewiston Hit Hard
Lewiston, perhaps is hit the hardest of any city in this section of the country, there being some 2000 cases reported in the city and the past four days, death has claimed about 15 patients of the disease.
No Flu at Nezperce
At Nezperce, where the flu last year claimed more deaths than perhaps any city in the state, according to the size of the town, so far it has failed to make its appearance. The city, however has taken every precaution possible by closing the city school, ordering pool halls to remove all chairs, and by also forbidding public gatherings of any kind.
At Grangeville where there are some 70 cases the health authorities are quarantining every family afflicted with the disease. None of the cases there are considered critical.
Cottonwood’s physicians, Drs. Blake, Orr and Shinnick are practically working night and day to check the malady in its infancy and there advise it to keep cool and not lose your head. Do not expose yourself any more than is absolutely necessary and if sick go to bed and stay there, until all chances of a setback are entirely eliminated. Follow the advice of your physician and you will in nine cases out of ten come out of it in A No. 1 shape, if you should be so unfortunate as to contract the flu.
source: Cottonwood Chronicle. (Cottonwood, Idaho), 30 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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Cottonwood Chronicle. January 30, 1920, Page 6
Watch Your Health
“Influenza” the disease that took hundreds, yes thousands of lives throughout the country last year has again made its appearance in various sections of the country and to be frank Cottonwood today is also again infected with the malady, but only in a slight form, there being some cases, however, where the patients have the disease in a more severe form.
There is absolutely no cause for alarm or scare. But likewise there is no reason for not exercising great precautions. The health should be carefully guarded.
Every cold should be attended to at once. The feet should be kept warm and dry. It is essential that no risks of an unnecessary nature be assumed. Remember to protect your health and there is no danger from influenza.
(ibid, page 6)
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Cottonwood Chronicle. January 30, 1920, Page 8
Cottonwood And Vicinity
Personal Mention and Local Happenings of the Week in This Vicinity
Mrs. A. J. Maugg, of Grangeville arrived in Cottonwood Friday morning to nurse Mrs. John Maugg and daughter Agnes who are afflicted with the flu.
Mrs. A. J. Barth and John Wasem departed Tuesday morning for Tammany, where they attended the funeral of their niece, Miss Louise Thiessen, a 19 year old girl who was one of the first influenza victims in that section of the country.
Bill Rooke, who came out from his ranch on the river last week and departed for Lewiston on a business mission is now detained there with an attack of the flu.
Wess Hockersmith received word Thursday that his wife, who has been waiting on an elderly lady at Lewiston whih whom she made her home during her childhood days, had taken down with influenza.
Dr. H. B. Blake was a professional business visitor at Vollmer Thursday.
Dr. G. S. Stockton of Grangeville was a professional visitor in Cottonwood Tuesday.
Miss Harriet Greve arrived home Wednesday evening from Lewiston where she has been attending the Lewiston State Normal, which has been closed on account of the flu.
Miss Hazel Miller and Miss Minnie Pfannebecker who are students of the Lewiston Business College returned home Thursday evening and will not return until the flu epidemic at Lewiston has passed over.
The basket ball game between Grangeville and Cottonwood high school, which was scheduled for Wednesday evening was called off on account of the influenza epidemic.
The Metro picture, “Sylvia on a Spree,” for Tuesday evening, February 3, has been cancelled on account of the flu epidemic through an order of the Metro corporation. The Orpheum.
There will be a Red Cross meeting at their headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, February 3. All members are requested to be present.
(ibid, page 8)
The source of the influenza illness remained a mystery to scientists as viruses were too small and obscure for the optical microscopes available in 1918. Credit: Naval Historical Society
Study: Bacterial pneumonia was main killer in 1918 flu pandemic
By Robert Roos Aug 22, 2008
It was secondary bacterial pneumonia — not the influenza virus by itself — that killed most of the millions who perished in the 1918 flu pandemic, which suggests that current pandemic preparations should include stockpiling of antibiotics and bacterial vaccines, influenza researchers reported this week.
Experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) examined pieces of lung tissue preserved from 58 victims of the 1918 pandemic and reviewed reports distilled from thousands of autopsies to reach their conclusions, published online by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
“Histological and bacteriologic evidence suggests that the vast majority of influenza deaths resulted from secondary bacterial pneumonia,” says the report by David M. Morens, MD, Jeffery K. Taubenberger, MD, PhD, and NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD.
Many accounts of the 1918 pandemic have emphasized how quickly patients succumbed to the infection, creating an impression that a large share of the victims died of the virus’s direct effects on the lungs or the immune system’s intense response to the infection. But the new report suggests that more than 90% actually died of invading bacterial pneumonia after the virus wiped out cells lining the bronchial tubes and lungs.
“In essence, the virus landed the first blow while bacteria delivered the knockout punch,” said Fauci in an NIAID news release.
Lung sections and autopsy reviews
The researchers pursued two strategies. First, they examined sections newly cut from blocks of lung tissue preserved from 58 military members who died during the pandemic, representing all known 1918 flu cases in a tissue collection at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
Second, they reviewed 1918-era literature on influenza pathology and bacteriology, gleaning 109 reports providing useful bacteriologic information from 173 series of autopsies. These covered 8,398 autopsies from 15 countries.
Nearly all of the lung tissue examinations yielded “compelling histologic evidence of severe acute bacterial pneumonia, either as the predominant pathology or in conjunction with underlying pathologic features now believed to be associated with influenza virus infection,” including damage to the bronchial epithelium, the report says. Bacteria were often present in “massive numbers.”
In perusing the contemporary autopsy studies, the authors found 96 reports of lung tissue culture results from 5,266 patients, in which only 4.2% showed no bacterial growth. In 68 “higher quality” autopsy series, representing 3,074 patients, 92.7% of the lung cultures were positive for at least one bacterial species. Cultures of blood samples from another 1,887 victims were positive for bacteria in 70.3% of cases.
At the time of the pandemic, nearly all experts agreed that deaths were almost never caused by the then-unidentified flu virus itself, “but resulted directly from severe secondary pneumonia caused by well-known bacterial ‘pneumopathogens’ that colonized the upper respiratory tract,” the report states. The most common pathogens were pneumococci, streptococci, and staphylococci.
The authors also reviewed evidence from the relatively mild pandemic of 1957-58 and determined that most deaths were due to secondary bacterial pneumonia. In addition, the “few relevant data from the 1968-1969 pandemic” reflect the same pattern, they write.
“We believe that the weight of 90 years of evidence, including the exceptional but largely forgotten work of an earlier generation of pathologists, indicates that the vast majority of pulmonary deaths from pandemic influenza viruses have resulted from poorly understood interactions between the infecting virus and secondary infections due to bacteria that colonize the upper respiratory tract,” the report says.
Severity still unexplained
The researchers say their findings leave the extreme severity of the 1918 pandemic unexplained. Because they found evidence of many different types of invading bacteria, it was probably not due to specific virulent bacterial strains. Instead, they speculate that “any influenza virus with an enhanced capacity to spread to and damage bronchial and/or bronchiolar epithelial cells” could pave the way for bacteria in the upper respiratory tract to invade the lungs and cause a severe infection.
The authors suggest that, as in past pandemics, secondary bacterial pneumonia is likely to be the leading killer in the next pandemic — if it is caused by “a human-adapted virus similar to those recognized since 1918.” If that’s the case, they assert, pandemic preparations must go beyond the development and stockpiling of influenza vaccines and antiviral drugs; efforts should also include the stockpiling of antibiotics and bacterial vaccines to protect against bacterial pneumonia.
However, the investigators also write that if a derivative of the H5N1 avian flu virus causes a future pandemic, lessons from past pandemics may not be “strictly applicable.” That virus’s pathogenic mechanisms may be atypical because it is poorly adapted to humans and because it causes unusual pathology in animals. On the other hand, they say that if the H5N1 virus fully adapts to humans, the spectrum of resulting disease could revert to something more similar to what was seen in past pandemics.
Study may change thinking
William Schaffner, MD, an influenza expert and chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, said the new study may change the general understanding of the causes of death in the 1918 pandemic.
“The general notion at least heretofore is that there were two kinds of deadly illnesses, the first caused by the virus all by itself,” Schaffner told CIDRAP News. “We know that the influenza virus can cause primary pneumonia, and the time course was so brief from onset to death in many patients that it was thought this was likely due to an extremely virulent influenza virus — an influenza virus on steroids.”
But it has also been assumed that bacterial pneumonia often complicated flu cases then, as it does today, and was fatal for many patients in that pre-antibiotic era, he added. “So the general notion was that there were two causes of death. The general sense was that the former, the virus, was more important than the latter. This comes largely from repeated stories about the rapidity with which this carried people off.”
But the findings of Morens and colleagues indicate that secondary bacterial pneumonia was the more common cause of death. “The impressive thing is, though this is a tiny, tiny sample of what went on, they showed bacterial pneumonia was extraordinarily common,” Schaffner said. “I think they make the point that it was in every one of the autopsy sections they examined. I have to tell you that made me sit up.”
He suggested one possible source of inadvertent bias in the study: Because the evidence is derived from autopsies, the subjects included in the study could represent a skewed sample. The victims most likely to be autopsied were those who died in hospitals, and they probably were less sick initially and had a longer course of illness than those who died at home, Schaffner said. Those who died at home were much less likely to be autopsied.
Nevertheless, the study is an important contribution for showing that bacterial pneumonia was common in the 1918 pandemic, Schaffner added. “I’m still not convinced that that bimodal concept [of the causes of death in 1918] is not true,” he said. “These fellows have nailed the second part; I’m just not sure they represent the entire population of deaths.”
continued: University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
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