News & Media |  Donate  |  Contact Us | 
Asked Questions
San Francisco Health Network
Our Programs

1906 Earthquake & Fire


Typhoid Fever Deaths

Typhoid Fever Deaths

"...The chemical and bacteriological findings on the water again submitted proved negative, and yet the number of cases daily increased. A review of the ground revealed that some other factor was responsible for the continued spread of the disease. Inspection showed that the large public relief kitchens located in the camps were unscreened and open to the dirt, dust and invasion from flies; myriads of the latter were found in every portion of and. upon everything in these kitchens. In many instances latrines were not far distant, and these were likewise uncovered, and unscreened. Investigation and inquiry proved that many refugees were careless in the disposal of excreta, throwing it on adjacent surface soil. This became an added menace, as quite a number of the cases were of the ambulatory type. From one such patient, whose tent was in Garfield Square, were traced twelve cases.

"It is not intended to claim that the camps or camp kitchens are the only source of infection, although 151 cases are directly traceable to camps; thirty cases to sources outside of the City and County, and nearly forty are case to case infection and rated as contacts. A part of the remaining number are no doubt due to the use of infected spring and well waters, which were used in spite of all warnings. The balance of the cases it was impossible to trace the source; some, however, give a history of having eaten in relief kitchens, but owing to indefinite and inaccurate data they cannot be included in camp cases."

--excerpted from the Department of Public Health's Annual Report for 1906-07