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Full text of "Pathogenic Bacteria"



CHOLERA is a disease from which certain parts of India
are never free. The areas in which it is endemic are
the foci from which the great epidemics of the world, as
well as the constant smaller epidemics of India, probably
spread. No one knows when cholera was first introduced
into India, and the probabilities are that it is indigenous
to that country, as yellow fever is to Cuba. Very early
mention of it is made in the letters of travellers, in
books and papers on medicine of a century ago, and
in the governmental statistics, yet we find that little is
said about the disease except in a general way, most
attention being directed to the effect upon the armies,
native and European, of India and adjacent countries.
The opening up of India by Great Britain in the last
half century has made possible much accurate scientific
observation of the disease and the relation which its epi-
demics bear to the manners and customs of the people.

The filthy habits of the people of India, their poverty,
their crowded condition, and their religious customs, all
serve to aid in the distribution of the disease. We are
told that the city of Benares drains into the Ganges River
by a most imperfect system, which distributes the greater
part of the sewage immediately below the banks upon
which the city is built. It is a matter of religious ob-
servance for every zealot who makes a pilgrimage to the
"sacred city" to take a bath in and drink a large quan-
tity of this sacred but polluted water, and, as may be
imagined, the number of pious Hindoos who leave
Benares with comma bacilli in their intestines or upon
their clothes is great, for there are few months in the