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FATAL PLAGUE THREATENS WHOLE WORLD

27

had established on the mainland beyond the fly zone, to confine the spread of the disease. Blood and back-bone tests were made of every inmate, the work requiring months. None of the Baganda seemed affected, judged by their appearance— but this parasite works in secret. Nearly half the natives were stricken.

England's Sleeping Sickness Commission is in Uganda. That is why the trypanosome, as science calls it, is supposed by the outside world to be limited to a small part of Africa, because the reports of the Commission refer only to the curse in the British African colonies. But here is what the men who have been following its advance have found—men who have traced it half-way around the world. Guerin, the famous Frenchman, located 148 victims marked for death among the blacks of Martinique, in the West Indies. Steamers ply regularly between this island and New York City. Two white passengers on a steamship running between the Congo River and London, were taken sick on a return voyage of the vessel. The ship's surgeon treated them for African fever, but without any effect. They were taken to the Charing Cross Hospital on arrival at London. As luck would have it one of the hospital staff had been in service at a detention camp. He noticed a sign of the disease—neck glands swollen. To make sure, he drew some blood from each. The lens showed it to be alive with trypanosomes. Both victims died within six months after reaching Charing Cross.

For over a thousand miles up the Congo River steamers manned by Belgian officers go up and down from the coast, getting cargoes for ocean liners that discharge at European ports. The native crews of the boats help unload the cargoes on the steamships and mingle with

their crews. Such noted experts as Nabarro, the Frenchman, a world authority and student of sleeping sickness, doctors Dutton, Todd, and Sir David Bruce have all been in the Congo region and have found that much of it has been desolated by the sleeping sickness. Yet the fly which carries the disease has been found at all the river landings and many of the negro cargo handlers are known to have been bitten by it. The fly can easily conceal itself on vessels for European ports, as it lights on the Congo canoes and other small craft carrying rubber to the sea coast. What it may mean to the world, considering the way in which it can be distributed, is shown by this warning from Doctor Nabarro: "There are several species of flies that may propagate the trypanosome, and the possible results of the infection both in Africa and out of it are too appalling to contemplate." And here is the startling predic

[graphic]

Laboratory For The Scientific Study Of The Sleeping Sickness

Being Constructed By Native Labor At Mtumu.

In The Uganda Country.

tion of Sir David Bruce, one
of the pioneers in
war of medicine again
sleeping sickness, who
has chanced death
for years in his de-
votion to what is his
life work.

"While so far it has claimed comparatively few white victims, not only do the blacks become infected, but all who get it, die of it. Can the civilized world realize what terrible sacrifice of human life might ensue if the sleeping sickness should contrive to steal across to European, American, or Asian shores?

[graphic]

The Courage Of The White Race.

Sir David Bruce, an English scientist and flghter of the

sleeping sickness, in one of the breeding places

of the tsetse fly. with face and hands

unprotected from its bite.

Such

disaster is not impossible and is proved by the fact that often cases have not developed until months after any possibility of infection, and by further fact that it is not yet definitely known that the mosquito or some other flying insect than the tsetse may not communicate the disease. If the world knew what we know, scientific columns would be hastening to the front from all the Great Powers bent on a joint assault of the enemy before it was too late."

Not only Bruce, but Nabarro, Todd, Koch, Hodges, Kopke, Martin, Hardy and Klein, and other world-known medical savants have taken the death chance and are among the little band on the very front of the fighting line, hopeless as yet of relieving the victims of the trypanosome, but struggling to prevent further inroads on mankind.

Nabarro can well say what does, for no other man f science has found the disease in so many places in Africa or has so awakened the whites of that continent. He has devoted most of his life to trying to conquer the invisible thing — a fight which has showed his remarkable courage —for to discover a remedy he must spend years in the region now known to be deadly to black or white. He has gone into the worst plague spot of the infested Africa, the Congo Free State, from whence came the death fly to Uganda, when Emil Pasha's Soudanese soldiers, corrupt and diseased, entered the country and left a trail of fire and blood behind. Worst of all, however, flies, traveling with the caravan, infected the people and the rapid spread of this latter curse caused more permanent harm than the immediate ravages of the vandal horde.

As yet the investigators have not found where the Soudan negroes caught the complaint. Most of them think it was in the Congo, and had good reason for it. When the would-be life-savers came to enter some of the towns, in the Congo Free State, they found every native, to the youngest child, helpless or dead, as was the case at Bouma and Tombo. In the country south as far as

St. Paul Jl_1 I de Loando their 29

[graphic]

THE COMPLETED LABORATORY AT MPUMU.

FATAL PLAGUE THREATENS WHOLE WORLD

report shows that the tsetse
fly is doing its work; as
is also the case in
Senegambia and Up
per Guinea. Even
Liberia, that repub-
lic which was to be
the Mecca of the
American freed-
men, is infected,
while the thing has
been carried to the
Atlantic at the Gold
Coast, and finally
penetrated several
white European
colonies in Africa.
It has killed off the
population on the
Congo River from
the towns of Kassai
to Bolobo, a dis-
tance of 750 miles,

and for 250 miles the country traversed by the Bambia River has been left desolate. • The half million deaths in Uganda are but a fraction of the number of victims as sleeping sickness has been found in an area reaching 1,500 miles north and south and about the same distance east and west.

In a drop of human blood may be darting hither and thither thousands of trypanosomes. This means death in six months, a year—perhaps longer, but the end is sure after trypanosomes have been forced into the body as the fly carrier injects them into the hole first bored through the skin. The wonderful vision of the lens has caused the eye to see them in life though the size is so small as to be beyond calculation. This fatal parasite looks somewhat like a fat-bodied

[graphic]

Enlarged Micro Photograph Of The Sleeping Sick-
Ness Trypanosomes. Or Parasites. Swimming
Among The Corpuscles In The Blood.
The bite of the tsetse fly injects these parasites into the
system, and thus the fatal sleeping sickness results.

eel, but lightning can be no quicker than its swiftness.

The flies that make the attack have a boring tool sticking out from the head. Its point is rounded like a miniature cigar and connects with the mouth. After a fly has taken its deadly food, by biting rats, snakes, lizards, and wild animals—even crocodiles—and infected negroes, its mouth and stomach holds a mass of trypanosomes. Lighting on the skin so softly that the victim knows nothing of its presence unless he sees the fly, it pierces the skin with its borer. The wound is so trivial that it inflicts no pain. Through this the trypanosome passes into the body. Once inside it works its way into the nearest artery. It then breaks into halves and two of the parasites have taken the place of the one. Both divide again and again so it multiplies until over a million may be churning the blood and the liquid that surrounds the spinal cord, within twentyfour hours after the fly has bitten. These human reservoirs of trypanosomes become spreaders of the disease if a fly again feeds on them, and it is believed that any winged insect which may pierce the skin, the mosquito, for instance, can extract these death-dealing parasites, and thus the disease may spread to an untold extent, as Bruce and Nabarro have predicted.

[graphic][merged small]

The doctors have forced arsenic into the blood of the victims and they have disappeared. Some may have been poisoned, but after a month or so, not longer than six months, the blooc tests show that they are again at work and as numerous as before if not more so. No other remedy save arsenic has had any effect whatever, and that is only temporary. England. Germany, Belgium, France have sent their most noted disease experts to stay the plague. Dr. Seaman, our own authority on yellow fever, who, to prove his mosquito theory, slept in beds where victims of the fever had died the same

day, has also been through Africa's morass and jungle and risked his life, but today he admits that not one thing known will kill all these parasites after they have entered the body of man. The physicians, the bacteriologists are as far away from removing this curse upon humanity as they were when its ravages were first discovered.

The black man is the happiest of human beings. He lives on life's sunny side, for he does not know what sorrow and trouble mean. Singing is as natural to him as eating and the harder he sings,

[graphic]

Where The Disease Is Rapidly Nearing The End Note the look of patient despair on this negro's features. He is absolutely helpless, for he cannot stand or change his position without aid.

the harder he works. On the banana plantations in southern Africa, he makes a sound, weird, but it is his When a negro is it means that something within is wrong. This was one way in which the doctors found the sleeping sickness where there was no other sign. When the song stops he seems to get lazier and lazier. His vigor has gone. As he walks he staggers. After a while he may crawl, no strength in his legs to support his body. Now the neck glands stick out against the skin sw e 11 e d with the parasites, his eyelids half close over the dimmed eye balls. He is a picture of a human being turning into an unnamable thing, and as he grows weaker and weaker, the face becomes more and more distorted. You see hatred, sullenness, the glare of a wounded wild beast in it. That wriggler in his blood, unknown to him, is slowly deadening brain as well as body. More and more he becomes like a chained animal in his contortions and struggles. The stronger the victim the longer he resists, but finally his efforts cease. Limbs and arms are bent at the knee and elbow and become rigid. The dull, fixed, halfclosed eyes have no movement and their stare gives a horrible expression to the

[graphic]

TAKING THEIR LIVES IN THEIR HANDS TO CATCH THE TSETSE FLY FOR PURPOSES OF EXPERIMENT. ON THE SHORES OF LAKE VICTORIA NYANZA.

FATAL PLAGUE THREATENS WHOLE WORLD

31

[graphic]

Another Greatly Enlarged Micro Photograph Of Sleeping

Sickness Parasites.

They resemble "fat-bodied eels."

face. Inside the body is 1 i f e,—t h e heart is beating, the stomach can digest food, but the outside is dead. The invisible murderer at last has entered the spinal canal and has multiplied in it. Par alysis has the vict i m in its g r i p. B u t months, even years may

pass and still the heart beats, though the thing is blind, dumb, immovable. It has no pain. It has no feeling. A torpor has enveloped it. Not a sound can it utter. At last the death sign comes. The head of the patient—who is generally propped up against a wall or post— bends forward, at first only an inch or so. The neck muscles are weakening. Lower it falls until the chin rests on the breast. The heart beats fainter and slower—and stops. The trypanosomes have finished their work. He is a cadaver—infected with the parasites which have killed him, and a thing of death should the tsetse bore into the body. Cremation or burial occurs at once.

The tsetse looks like our house fly that has been accused of so many crimes. In appearance it is harmless. Blood is the food of the fly and it makes no difference what it bites. On the Upper Nile, Dr. Nabarro

_ _ ,,. ___„„ The Tsetse Flv Is Believed To Secure The Fatal Parasite By

saw croco

[graphic]

Feeding On The Crocodile And Other Animals.

d i 1 e s s u lining themselves. Upon the blood filled flesh lining of their open jaws were sucking swarms of tsetses. This fact is believed to have been settled: no fly causes death unless it lias bitten an animal or man infected by the parasite, but it has a variety of prey to feed upon. Eight species of tsetses spring from larvae buried in the mud banks of streams. The one that menaces human life is the Glossim Palpolis. The animal killer is the Glossina Morsitans. When they have sucked the blood filled with trypanosomes, they may have enough to last them sixty-six days. During this time, man, woman or child, or brute on which it lights, may become its victim. It lurks in the grass and flowers of the swamp, will fly sometimes a hundred miles in a day as shown by tracing one. The Palpalis has been found and killed in cars on trains on the Uganda railroad which reaches from Lake Victoria 500 miles t hrough a thickly settled part of British Africa, proving the predict i o n s of those hunting for it that no one knows today where it may go, as its larvae de

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