The House Fly.
Fly screens are recognized by the Health Department as one of the most efficient preventives of diarrheal diseases and typhoid fever. They should be put in place early in fly time and used until snow falls.
Keep the common house fly out of your house and away from your food, and the chances of avoiding diarrheal disturbances and typhoid fever this summer will be much better.
We know now that the "innocent" little house fly—whose god, according to the ancient Hebrews, was Beelzebub—is a positive and serious menace to health. He is the filthiest, most dangerous and most common of disease-spreading insects that infest these parts in summer.
He is born in and lives on animal discharges and decaying vegetable and animal matter. He was a maggot before he was a fly.
The late Judge Goggin used to tell of his experience while holding court in a neighboring town, which was also a popular summer resort. Repairing to the usual country latrine the morning after his arrival, he was quickly driven out by the buzzing, biting, crawling swarms he had disturbed at their morning meal. Seeking the landlord in angry protest, mine host heard the Judge's complaint; then, cocking his eye up at the fly-specked dial of the office clock—
"Why, judge, you haven't been out there at this hour of the morning, have you?
"You should wait until dinner time. They're all in the dining room then!"
This is the favorite "stunt" of the pest —to feast in the privy, at a manure pile, or on a dead animal and then go direct to your kitchen and dining table for his dessert.
He is not a bit particular, either, about the cleanliness of his feet—in fact it is only natural for him to carry hundreds of thousands of disease germs on his feet and body, and he is not at all reluctant about depositing this filth on the food you eat.
And you have not been nearly as particular about preventing this pollution of your food as you should have been.
You eat this polluted food and you develop a "summer complaint," or, perhaps, typhoid fever. You blame it on the hot weather, etc.—you would be more often correct if you blamed it on the flv.
All cases of typhoid fever and most cases of diarrheal disease are due to an infection. The infection is present in human discharges, from these discharges it is conveyed into the mouths of other humans in several ways; but the common house-fly is the commonest and the most mischievous of all carriers.
The greatest prevalence of the diarrheal diseases corresponds with the greatest prevalence of flies. Most typhoid infections also occur at this time.
Flies may also be the conveyors of scarlet fever, diphtheria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. They walk over or feast on the infectious matter in a sick room and then go to a neighboring home and find their way to the food and drink of other persons.
Much sickness and many deaths can be avoided by keeping the fly out of the home. Screen your windows and doors and wage a war of extermination on those that do get in. The time is not far removed when people generally will regard the presence of flies in the home as evidence of inexcusably filthy housekeeping.
Especially do we advise that you keep flies away from the baby's food and screen the baby's bed, so that flies cannot convey infection to it while it sleeps.—Chicago Health Bulletin.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.