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South Deerfield Had Severe Week With It
Eight Deaths Occur and There Are Many Cases of Illness- Board of Health
Bans All Gatherings-Conditions Improved Today
The influenza epidemic which ravaged Greenfield, Turners Falls and Millers
Falls in October and broke out again a few weeks ago in Sunderland, has been
afflicting two other county towns for a week or more, South Deerfield and Conway,
the former suffering the most. Eight deaths from it have occurred in South Deerfield
during the week and there are many cases of illness, in some cases entire families
being prostrated. On last Friday the board of health there adopted a general
closing order, all public places being ordered to shut their doors and gatherings
of any sort being prohibited. Conditions appear to be improving now, however,
only 10 new cases being reported in the last three days. If the improvement
continues the board of health may decide to rescind its closing order by the
last of the week.
Deerfield has not been hit by the epidemic as far, only one very mild case
being reported there, and the closing rules do not affect that part of the town.
Deerfield academy was to have reopened yesterday, and the board of health was
willing it should, provided that South Deerfield and Sunderland pupils did not
attend. This would have meant greatly reduced attendance, so Principal Frank
Boyden decided to wait another week to see how conditions develop. Sunderland's
situation has pretty well cleared up, and Whately, which also suffered from
the return of the epidemic, has been pretty well freed from it.
All the towns affected suffer from lack of nurses, which has led to a discussion
of whether it is not advisable for small communities to unite in nursing districts
after the plan now followed in school superintendency districts. The public
health nurse idea has been so great a success in larger communities that is
it believed to be an excellent thing for smaller towns to consider. South Deerfield
and Sunderland citizens are discussing whether it would not be a good thing
for the two villages to join in hiring a district nurse. Being only two miles
apart, and connected by a state highway, it seems that a nurse equipped with
an auto, could cover both without great inconvenience.
District nurse work in these two towns have important results, especially in
Polish and Lithuanian homes where the epidemic seems to have had the most fatal
results. The practical lessons in hygiene, sanitation and food which a district
nurse gives would tend to reduce mortality very greatly. Frequent visits by
the nurse invariably leads to the winning of the confidence of the foreign-born
population, and her suggestions are more apt to be followed than those of a
physician, whose calls are necessarily less frequent. This has been the experience
of other towns in this work, and it is almost certain to result in South Deerfield
and Sunderland if the experiment is tried.
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The influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than World War I. It is estimated that it affected a quarter of the population and that 675,000 Americans died from this disease. Between September 1, 1918 and January 16, 1919, 45,000 people died in Massachusetts. The disease entered the country with some sailors that docked in Boston on August 27. Within two weeks, over two thousand men stationed in the Boston area were infected. By October, towns in western Massachusetts were seeing high rates of infection and death. This article reports that the disease had broken out again in December, this time affecting different towns. The October outbreak had mainly affected Greenfield, Millers Falls and Turners Falls, and this December outbreak hit Sunderland, South Deerfield, Conway and Whately. The Board of Health in Deerfield issued an order preventing any public gatherings and closing all public buildings in the village of South Deerfield. This article also discusses the benefits of public health nurses and that, due to a shortage, towns should think about creating public health nurse districts like they had school districts.
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"Influenza Returns- South Deerfield Had Severe Week With It" article from The Greenfield Recorder newspaper
| publisher Greenfield Recorder
| date Jan 1, 1919
| location Greenfield, Massachusetts
| height 9.75"
| width 2.0"
| process/materials printed paper, ink
| item type Periodicals/Newspaper
| accession # #L08.040
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