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Newspaper Page Text
papers of statements, which on one hand are calculated to lull the
public into a sense of false security and on the other to unduly cause alarm. Contrary to the opinion expressed frequently during the early weeks of last year's pandemic by a number of observers, the studies of the U. S. Public Health Service indicate that the epidemic was not a fresh importation from abroad. Careful study of the mortality statistics of the United States shows that there were a number of extensive though mild forerunners of the pandemic during the pre vious three or four years. In Chicago and New York in the winter of 1915-16 for example, these were sufficiently well marked to occasion considerable public comment at the time, leading in the latter city, to a well organized "Don't spit, don't sneeze" cam paign on the part of the health authorities. The reports of the U.S. Public Health Service of January, 1916, show influenza to be epidemic in 22 states, including practically all sections of the United States. The epidemic was generally of a mild type and has since been almost forgotten. It occasioned, however, a noticeable increase in the recorded death rate from pneumonia. In the spring of 1918 there was another sharp rise in the mortality rate from pneumonia. In the larger cities of the Atlantic seaboard these increases occurred during January, February and March. In the rest of the country, especially the central and west ern states, the increases occurred in April, a month during which pneumonia mortality is generally on the decline. This increase was sufficient to indicate a strong departure from the normal. The in creased mortality rate extended into May and in some areas even longer. This occurrence has, it is believed, a definite significance in relation to the influenza epidemic. In the United States in the spring of 1918, a number of definite local outbreaks of infiuenza were observed thus in Fort Oglethorpe, near Chatanooga, Tenn., in March in Chicago during March in San Quentin prison, California, in April, October and November. At Camp Funston recurrent out breaks of pneumonia were observed in March, April May of 1918 and were definitely associated with coincident epidemics of a mild 11.