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VERDE HERITAGE 1918 INFLUENA PANDEMIC: Vaccine

"Washington, September 26. --- Because of epidemics of Spanish influenza in army camps, Provost Marshal General Crowder tonight cancelled orders for the entrainment between October 7 and 11 of 142,000 draft registrants. During the 24 hours ending today 6,139 new cases of influenza in army camps had been reported to the officers of the surgeon general of the army." There were 170 deaths, resulting chiefly from pneumonia, following influenza, and 723 new cases of pneumonia were reported. (Bisbee Daily Review; September 27, 1918.)

"Washington D.C. --- Although King Alfonso of Spain was one of the victims of the influenza epidemic in 1893 and again this summer, Spanish authorities repudiate any claim to influenza as a 'Spanish' disease. If the people of this country do not take care the epidemic will become so widespread throughout the United States that soon we shall hear the disease called 'American Influenza.'" (Verde Copper News; Jerome; October 31, 1918.)

State Superintendent of Public Health Dr. Orville Harry Brown, and State Health Officer Dr. Frederic T. Fahline, of the United States Army, were observing the first cases of influenza at Phoenix on September 25, 1918. Dr. Brown wrote to Dr. L. A. W. Burtch, at Clifton, on October 11: "Six days experience with serious conditions here [at Phoenix] from influenza makes me say take every precaution; close all meetings, schools, and services, until further orders and clean up all houses, yards, outhouses, towns, and investigate all dairies and water supplies. I recommend strict personal cleanliness, spraying nose and throat twice daily with argoil or oil antiseptic. Influenza vaccine was given in 3 cases and was apparently effective. Am using one made by Pathological Laboratory, at Phoenix. After taking sick, recommend bed absolutely till thoroughly well as pneumonia comes with relapse. There are nearly 50% pneumonia here in 18 days so far." (The Copper Era and Morenci Leader; Clifton; October 11, 1918.)

"ADVISE VACCINE AS PREVENTATIVE OF INFLUENZA: Extensive Tests Prove Its Value To Prevent Disease Or To Diminish An Attack Say State Health Officials," October 26

"The statement sometimes made by uninformed laymen and by some physicians that there is much danger and no virtue in the use of the vaccine which is being used as a preventative for influenza, prompts the following statement from Dr. Orville H. Brown, state superintendent of health and Dr. W. Warner Watkins, of the pathological laboratory which is supplying the bulk of the vaccine now being used in this state."

"The use of the vaccine, in the beginning of this epidemic, was experimental to the extent that it had never before been used for this purpose on a large scale. The last epidemic of influenza (1889-90) was before the day of this class of vaccines. However, there was sound theoretical grounds for the belief that the vaccine would be of value, based on the investigations of Dr. Gorgas (now surgeon general) into the cause and prevention of the epidemic of pneumonia among the miners of South Africa in 1905, and on the experiences of the United States army with pneumonia in the cantonments during the past year."

"Vaccinating Soldiers: The soldiers are being vaccinated as fast as the public health laboratory in Washington can produce the vaccine, the medical department of the army having convinced themselves that ordinary lobar pneumonia can be largely prevented by this means. Vaccination against influenza is based on the same scientific basis as vaccination against ordinary pneumonia."

"Early in the present epidemic, the Massachusetts board of health appointed 2 commissions to investigate the value of the influenza vaccine. These commissions, composed of very conservative medical scientists, presented the following conclusions relative to the use of influenza vaccine as a preventative."

"Convinced of Value:"

"(1) The evidence from the present epidemic, though meagre, suggests that the incidence of the disease among the vaccinated is smaller than among the unvaccinated."

"(2) The statistical evidence so far as it goes, indicates a probability that the use of this influenza vaccine has some protective value."

"(3) There is no evidence that unfavorable results have followed the use of the vaccine."

"(4) The state encourages the distribution of influenza vaccine intended for preventative use."

"These recommendations of the Massachusetts commission is dignified and conservative, as all such public statements must be, but they are in line with the views of the Arizona State Board of Health, and in accordance with the practice of the majority of well-informed physicians of Arizona."

"Not Injurious: The statement that the vaccine, intelligently administered, does damage, is without foundation. It is, of course, possible to injure a person with the vaccine, just as he can be injured with any drug given in a poisonous dose. There is absolutely no reason why the vaccine, administered by a physician, or under his direction, should do any damage, even though the patient is suffering from another disease, for example, heart disease or tuberculosis."

"The preventative treatment which is being made and distributed by the Mayo Foundation of Rochester, Minn., is an influenza vaccine, almost identical with the one which is being made in Arizona for use in this state."

"Should Be Used: The opinion of Dr. Rosenow, who is preparing and distributing the vaccine for the Mayo Foundation, coincides exactly with ours and is to the effect that the preventative treatment should, by all means, be used. It can do no harm and will either prevent the influenza or diminish the severity of the attack. Taking the vaccine should not lead people to neglect the other precautions which have been recommended."

"(signed) Orville H. Brown, State Supt. of Public Health; W. Warner Watkins, of the Pathological Laboratory, Phoenix, Arizona."

(Arizona Republican; Phoenix; October 26, 1918.)

Vaccine Trials: "A telegram received yesterday from [U.S.] Surgeon General Blue requested the names of state institutions that were free from influenza, where various vaccines could be tried. The state health officer replied that all the state institutions were as yet free from it and that vaccines were being tried in some and that any vaccines recommended by the surgeon general would be tried out." ... "Can't Get Into Prison: No person shall be inducted into a state institution until the Spanish influenza epidemic has passed, according to the State Board of Health yesterday, acting upon advices from the Commission of State Institutions. This means that all sheriffs have been informed that they shall not take any person to the state prison, state hospital for the insane, the reform school, or other state institutions." (Arizona Republican; November 2, 1918.)

Posters: "Copy for influenza placards were prepared yesterday and sent to the health officers over the state, the cards to be placed wherever a case exists. The poster is to read:"

"INFLUENZA"

"Those ill with influenza, must stay indoors until well."

"This card is placed here by order of the Arizona State and Local Boards of Health, and Arizona State Council of Defense, and must not be removed except by proper authority."

"Influenza is spread by direct or indirect contact. Cleanliness thoroughly executed, will go far toward preventing the disease. Getting into bed, and staying there until 2 days after apparently well, will usually prevent the dangerous complication."

"We have a vaccine which is proving efficient."

"It is hereby made mandatory, that each physician or other individual, knowing the presence of a case of influenza, obtain one of these posters and post it in a conspicuous place upon the house where the influenza patient is."

"Orville Harry Brown, State Supt. of Public Health; Charles E. Addams, Vice-Chairman and Director; (to be signed by) , Health Officer."

(Arizona Republican; November 2, 1918.)

"VACCINATE ALL IS PLAN TO END THE INFLUENZA"

"Bisbee: Wholesale vaccination may be recommended in Phoenix as a means of combatting the epidemic which has caused many public places to be closed and all public gatherings to be discontinued for some time says the Phoenix 'Republican.'"

"This is the means to be employed in the towns of Flagstaff, Williams, and Winslow, it is said, where the Spanish influenza has spread alarmingly and where many deaths have occurred. According to Dr. F. H. Redwill, of Phoenix, who has been in Flagstaff working to check the influenza epidemic. The situation is under control and wholesale vaccination is to be employed as a means of opening up the town."

"Dr. Redwill will return to Phoenix today and it is said he has declared that he will recommend the same wholesale vaccination measures here [at Bisbee] as a means of wiping out the epidemic."

"Vaccinate 3 Towns: Flagstaff --- Dr. F. H. Redwill, of the Maricopa County Medical Society, who has been stationed here in charge of work in the Spanish influenza epidemic, says that it has been controlled and that measures will be taken shortly to lift quarantine. According to an arrangement into which the towns of Flagstaff, Williams, and Winslow have entered, this will be accomplished by wholesale vaccination."

"The towns are to be divided into districts, and booths will be set up where the population may be vaccinated. There will be 3 inoculations and after the first one the quarantine will be partially lifted. After the second shot restrictions will be removed, and after the third the schools will be thrown open."

"Dr. Redwill ... said that a study has shown that 90% of the people vaccinated are rendered immune and that in the other 10% the disease is greatly mitigated by the vaccine."

(The Copper Era and Morenci Leader; Clifton; November 8, 1918.)

ARIZONA STATE BOARD OF HEALTH RECOMMENDATION, November 15

"From all the facts that we can get, it seems that influenza will keep extending until at least 40% of the population has had it. This being true, the problem is to have the disease spread gradually, so that there may be enough well people to care for the sick at any certain time and at any certain place."

"The second part of the problem is that of developing successful immunity against the disease. This may be done in either of 2 ways, to wit: having a mild form of the disease or taking a vaccine."

"At a meeting of those physicians who had experience with the epidemic in the northern part of the state [Who were those physicians?], there was an unanimous opinion that 90% of those who had 3 injections of the vaccine, are protected against any serious attacks of the influenza. Believing these facts, it becomes our duty to recommend and urge universal use of the vaccine upon the population of the state."

(Williams News; November 15, 1918.)

"Glendale, November 17. --- The physicians of Glendale have voluntarily given their services to humanity by using their professional skill in inoculating the people with anti-influenza vaccine. The movement to get the people of Glendale to allow themselves to be inoculated was started by the patriotic women of the community. They have made it possible for the inhabitants to get the 3 necessary injections for 30 cents, barely the cost of the serum. Free inoculations will be given those persons who feel they cannot afford the fee." (Arizona Republican; November 17, 1918.)

"Fewer Cases of Influenza" at Phoenix on November 30: "Comforting news to the people who are inconvenienced by the wearing of influenza masks will be that the decrease in number of influenza cases in Phoenix continues steady. The survey of the 9 districts of the city last night showed a total of 583 cases of influenza. This is a decrease of 16 from the report of November 27. ... The free vaccine station at 134 N. First Street is still open for the administering of influenza vaccine to all who wish that treatment." (Arizona Republican; November 30, 1918.)

Because Jerome newspaper information is missing for most of the last 2 weeks of October, the last week of November, and all of December, there are a lot of unanswered questions about the influenza epidemic in Jerome and the Verde Valley. Notably, very few employees of the United Verde Copper Company at Jerome (1,200) or Clarkdale are named in the existing newspapers as having influenza or pneumonia. The United Verde Copper Company had a long history of not discussing company information.

At Clarkdale, the order to wear masks was repeated several times. "The enforcement of this order has been placed in the hands of R. C. Lane and he states that no exceptions will be made to the rule. Offenders will be arrested, no matter who they may be." (Verde Copper News; November 13, 1918.) Perhaps, some people believed they were immune because they had been vaccinated.

At least one United Verde Copper Company executive claimed to be immune. "Thomas Taylor is in the city [Prescott] from Clarkdale, his business being official matters of a civil nature. He escaped the flu by inhaling the arsenical fumes from the big smelter, with an occasional chaser of a diluted brand of Hassayamper water, the combination being ideally a preventative one." (Weekly Journal-Miner; December 4, 1918) According to legend, anyone who drinks water from the Hassayampa River can never tell the truth again.

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