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Full text of "Pathogenic Bacteria"

118                PA THOGENIC BACTERIA.

Again, the fact that some of the antiseptics, as nitrate
of silver and bichlorid of mercury, are at once precipi-
tated by albumins, and thus lose their gennicidal and
antiseptic powers, limits the scope of their employment
I think it may- be safely said that carbolic acid is the
most reliable and most generally useful of all the germi-
cides and antiseptics.

The Disinfection of Sick-chambers, Dejecta, etc.—
What has just been remarked concerning the unreliability
of many of the gennicidal substances is eminently a
propos of the disinfection of dejecta. It is useless to
mix bichlorid of mercury with typhoid stools or tubercu-
lar sputum rich in albumin, and imagine these substances
rendered harmless in consequence. It should not be for-
gotten that the sick patient is less the means of convey-
ing the contagium than the objects with which he is in
contact, which can be carried to other rooms or houses
during or after the progress of the disease. A careful
consideration of the condition of the sick-room will
lead us to a clear understanding of its bacteriological

The Air of the Sick-room.—It is impossible to sterilize
or disinfect the atmosphere of a room during its occu-
pancy by the patient.    The disinfecting capacity of the
solutions given above must make obvious the concentra-
tion of their useful solutions, and show the foolishness
of placing beneath the bed or in the corners of a room
small receptacles filled with carbolic acid or chlorinated
lime.    These can serve no purpose for good, and may be
potent for harm  by obscuring  the  disagreeable  odors
emanating from materials which should be removed from
the room by the still more disagreeable odors of the dis-
infectants.    The practice of such a custom is only com-
parable to the old faith in the virtue of asafetida tied
in a corner of the handkerchief as a preventive of cholera
and smallpox.

During the period of illness a chamber in which the
patient is confined should be freely ventilated, so that its