December 4, 1909


Tin Drinking Cup Blamed by Medi-
cal Inspectors, Especially at
Benton -- Several Parochial
Schools Involved.

The medical inspectors going the rounds of the public schools have unearthed diphtheria and scarlet fever zones within the confines of Benton, Washington and Karnes schools. They are also learning from the daily returns of practicing physicians, of the existence of the two maladies among pupils of two or three of the parochial schools, but as the authority of the inspectors does not extend to schools of this description Dr. W. S. Wheeler, sanitary commissioner, has not felt justified in taking any voluntary official notice or action.

Of the parochial schools the worst afflicted is St. John's Parochial school, 534 Tracy avenue. This school, located in a district largely inhabited by Italian children, is conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Yesterday Sister Superior Monica appealed to the health authorities to make an investigation. Dr. H. Delamater, chief inspector, made a personal visit to the school and was informed that ninety of the 160 pupils are detained at home by sickness. Within the last six days cases of scarlet fever have developed among the pupils, and Dr. Delameter fears that many who are home at home may have it. He will have an examination made of the school building as to its sanitary condition, and will have class rooms fumigated.

Washington public school is at the southwest corner or Independence avenue and Cherry street, and the Karnes school is at the northwest corner of Troost avenue and Fourth street. Large numbers of the pupils have scarlet fever, the majority of victims predominating among those attending Karnes school. The diphtheria is not as epidemic as scarlet fever. The attendants of these two schools live in the territory bounded on the south by Admiral boulevard, north by the river, west by Grand avenue and east as far as Lydia avenue. The majority of the cases are north of Fifth street and scatter as far to the east as Budd park. As an assistance to the health authorities in keeping in touch with the exact location of the disease, a large map of the city has been prepared, and when a case of diphtheria develops a green-headed pin is driven into the map, designating a particular territory, and when one of scarlet fever is reported the map is perforated with a red-headed pin.


The map describing the Washington and Karnes school districts is rapidly filling up with the pin indicators, but not as noticeably as the district in which Benton school is situated. At the latter school diphtheria is the most prevalent, and is giving some alarm. The infection is spreading with rapidity. Benton school is at the southwest corner of Thirtieth street and Benton boulevard, in a fashionable and well-to-do neighborhood. There are from twenty to thirty cases of diphtheria among pupils going to this school, and it is feared that the disease got its start from the drinking cups in use there.

"The drinking cup in the public schools is a menace to health and is a communicator and spreader of disease," said Dr. Delamater yesterday. "Its frightful possibilities were fully described by Dr. W. S. Wheeler in his last annual report, and he advises that it be relegated and sanitary fountains installed in the schools. The health of no child is safe when the tin cup is in use. While I am not directly charging the appearance of diphtheria at Benton school to the drinking cup, still there is plenty of room for that suspicion as the school building is new and should be sanitary."