VACCINATION IN HER MAJESTYS NAVY.
Scarcely less striking is the failure of Vaccination in the Navy, though the practice is in no respect less rigidly enforced. In Article 1,076 of the Queens Regulations and Admiralty Instructions, it is prescribed :
"1st.All men and boys entering the service are to be re-vaccinated.
"2nd.All men who have not been re-vaccinated between their first entry in the service and the age of 58, shall be re-vaccinated as soon as possible, however good their primary vaccination cicatrices may appear, or even should they present unmistakable evidence of having suffered from small-pox previous to that age.
"4th.No person shall be considered re-vaccinated who has had the operation performed with lymph taken from the arm of a re-vaccinated person, but all persons so re-vaccinated shall again be vaccinated with lymph taken from the sources specified."
Mr. SIMON said of the Naval service in the Commons Committee, "we may look upon them as a completely protected class." In a well-known tract, published by the National Health Society of London, which has been extensively advertised and widely circulated, the following paragraph occurs :
"Every soldier and sailor is re-vaccinated; the result is that small-pox is almost unknown in the army and navy, even amid surrounding epidemics."
But Mr. ERNEST HART, the Chairman of the Committee of the National Health Society, in the appendix to his book, The Truth about Vaccination, published in 1880, admits, that amongst this healthy, well fed, vaccinated, and re-vaccinated bodythe British Navy for 20 years, there was only one year (1876) in which there were no cases of small-pox amongst the Home Force, and in the year 1864, there were no fewer than 199 cases, and nine deaths! Nor have the sailors in Her Majestys service fared better with their safeguard when abroad. From the Blue Book Report on the Health of the Navy for the year 1881, in a total force of 44,400 officers and men, the death-rate from disease was 5.27 per thousand, amongst which there were 25 cases of small-pox, of which four were on the Home stations, five on the West Coast of Africa, nine on the East Indies, and seven on the China stations. The four cases of small-pox occurred on the "Royal Adelaide," and in addition, 19 cases of vaccinia are reported. These last are accounted for by special re-vaccination, carried out owing to small-pox being generally epidemic. On the Pacific Station, seven cases of vaccinia are recorded, and one on the West Coast of Africa. The nine cases of small-pox recorded on the East Indies Station occurred on the "Eclipse." The first case, that of a seaman, aged 31, proved to be one of severe confluent form, with high fever and delirium. The patient had been re-vaccinated two years before. He succumbed on the eleventh day of, the attack, The second case also proved fatal in eleven days; it was an able seaman, aged 27, who had been successfully re-vaccinated four years previously. Seven others were subsequently attacked, some of them severely, but all recovered. Of these it is stated, that three had not been vaccinated since childhood, though, considering the stringency of the Queens regulations before cited, it is hardly conceivable that they could have escaped re-vaccination on entering the service. The Lancel, for February 3rd, 1883, has an article under the heading "Health of the Navy," commenting on the Blue Book from which the details of these vaccine failures are extracted, but while alluding to cholera, enteric fever, and other diseases, makes no allusion whatever to these cases of post-vaccinal small-pox. This is an example of the characteristic methods adopted by the profession, when dealing with this important subject.
The following instructive letter from Mr. EUGENE BETTES, of Washington, U.S., shews that small-pox contagion pays no more respect to the vaccine charm, when used in the form of bovine virus, in the United States Navy, than to our own transmission of disease from arm to arm. It is reprinted from the Vaccination Inquirer : "
"In the Sanitary and Medical Reports for 5873-74, published by
the Navy Department, there is an article by Dr. PILCHER, on the subject of Variola
in the United States Navy. Dr. PILCHER believes in Vaccination. His argument is this
:During the 26 years, 1845-70, there were introduced into receiving or
sea-going vessels, 80 cases of small-pox without any extension of the disease, and 26
cases where the contagion was limited to one other party, which shews the benefit of
primary Vaccination. In an unspecified number of cases the disease spread, attacking in
one instance more than one-fifth of the entire crew, which shews the necessity for
"I transcribe as briefly as possible some of the reports made by the ships surgeons:--
"In the early part of 5857, variola broke out in the U.S. sloop of war Levant, then in the China Sea. There was a total of 28 cases, of which an unusually large number were confluent, in consequence of the cachectic condition of those attacked. Indeed, those only whose constitutional vigour had been impaired were affected, the disease manifesting no tendency to indiscriminate spreading among the healthy members of the crew.
"In 1850, in the U.S. frigate Independence, with a ships company of 560 persons, there were 116 cases of small-pox, seven fatal. Fleet-surgeon WHELAN writes : The crew of this ship almost universally presented what are regarded as genuine vaccine marks. The protection, however, proved to be quite imperfect.
"Upon the U.S. steamship Jamestown, serving in Japanese waters, there occurred, in 1864, among a ships company of 212 persons, 31 cases of small-pox, with four deaths. The entire crew had been vaccinated after leaving the United States.
"In 1870, sixty-one cases occurred on the United States steamship Franklin. The disease first appeared on a sailor with an excellent vaccine scar. The officers and crew were immediately vaccinated with fresh vaccine matter obtained at Lisbon, this vaccination being the third one during the cruise. Nineteen days later, the second case occurred. The disease has been epidemic in many places in Europe during the past season, but I hoped our vaccinations would prevent trouble with it on board ship.
"In a cruise of the North Carolina up the Mediterranean, she shipped at Norfolk a crew of 900 men, most of whom had been vaccinated, or had the small-pox, but were nevertheless twice vaccinated prior to the ship sailing, a third time at Gibraltar, and a fourth time at Port Mahon. Dr. HENDERSON, who reports these facts, states that notwithstanding this ultra Vaccination under such various circumstances of virus, climate, &c., 157 of the crew had varioloid.
"The defence set up is, that the re-vaccinations were very rarely successful, owing to inferior virus; but in none of the above cases did the surgeon in charge suggest this explanation. Certainly the surgeon who wrote, I hoped our Vaccinations would prevent trouble, did not refer to matter exceptionally inert.
"Washington, U.S., August 1st, 1882."
By what methods the risk of these naval Vaccinations are minimised in some cases, may be told in the words of the Rev. ROBERT CAVEN, of Southampton, while stationed at Gosport, and communicated to the Anti- Vaccinator, December 2nd, 1871 :" A member of my congregation, who goes to sea in one of the P. and O. boats, is also connected with the Naval Reserve. He was down at Portsmouth this summer to fulfil his term of service. While there, he met with a shipmate from Southampton, who told him that he would have to be re-vaccinated before he rejoined his ship. And said he, they vaccinate on the wrist now instead of the arm; and do you know what that is for? why, dont you see, if the place mortifies, they have a, chance of saving your life by taking your arm off."