Ellis Island Quarantine, NY: Deaths in Quarantine, 1909-1911

Flying the Quarantine flag

Deaths in Quarantine, 1909-1911


Deadly Malaria Spread By Sting of Mosquitoes

Source: The Atlanta Constitution, August 13, 1901,
Page 5, Volume 34, [Found at Footnote.com]


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New York, August 12. — Dr. Alvah H. Doty, the health officer of this port, who has been of late carrying on a warfare against mosquitoes, beginning his operations on Staten Island, issued a statement concerning these operations, which have been prosecuted with a view to determining definitely, if possible, whether the malarial fever parasite is transmitted form one person to another by the female of the anapheles species of mosquito.

Mr. Doty, at the New York quarantine laboratory, has been laboring on his investigations for a years past. He first selected a low lying district in which were many stagnant pools and on which were 100 small houses. Inspection showed that at least 30 per center of the inhabitants were suffering with acute or chronic forms of malaria. Samples of water from the pools and cisterns, cesspools and barrels disclosed larvae of the mosquito.

Found Malarial Mosquito

Large glass tubes were distributed among the houses for the purpose of securing some of the mosquitoes which infested the neighborhood, and among those collected were found the anapheles of malarial mosquito.

In one of the houses a little girl 7 years old was found suffering from acute malaria. Dr. Doty was allowed by the mother to secure a drop of blood from the lobe of the ear. A bacteriological examination of this was made in the laboratory and the parasite found. In the meantime some of the anapheles will be dissected to discover if possible the presence of the parasite.

Many tests have been made at the laboratory to ascertain the value of different agents believed to be destructive to the mosquito larvae. It was a surprise, says Dr. Doty, to find that a solution of bichloride of mercury (1.2000), sufficiently strong to kill all micro-organisms, or germs, affected the larvae slowly, some being alive at the expiration of twenty-four hours. The doctor says it would be unsafe under any condition to use this dangerous agent in ponds, etc., which are fully exposed, and this may also be said of carbolic acid and other agents experimented with.

How He Spread Oil

Dr. Doty next describes the apparatus he used in spreading the oil, the latter being forced to the bottom of the ponds, from which it rose to the top, bringing with it quantities of the larvae. Dr. Doty sums up by saying:

"The result of this investigation from a scientific point, has been of great interest. First, because it has shown the intimate relation between the mosquito and malarial fever; second, because it was revealed to those who have been identified with this investigation the true breeding places of the mosquito, which I am quite sure are not generally known; third, it has shown that petroleum oil will surely promptly destroy the mosquito larvae, and, so far as careful experiment indicates, it is the only agent which can be depended upon for this purpose."

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