a hundred years ago november 16, 1917 Archives

Plague in India.


The following memorandum by the Sanitary Commissioner with the Government of India on the present aspect of the prevalence of plague in India is issued [in Delhi]: In no year since 1904 has the plague mortality of India in the month of October exceeded that of last month. There were proximately 42,600 deaths reported as compared with 23,800 in the corresponding month of the previous year. A study of the behaviour of plague in India during the last 20 years leads one to expect a steady rise in plague mortality from October to March or April and thereafter a rapid decline, at first sight the outlook is extremely black but the situation is not quite as serious as it appears to be. The Bombay Presidency has contributed 46 per cent of the total plague mortality for October 1917. The outbreak of plague in this area usually reach their height about the present season of the year. The next month or so is likely to see a decline of plague mortality in Bombay though the distribution of the disease indicates that this decline is likely to be less rapid than usual. The most reassuring feature of the situation is the present limited distribution of infection in the Punjab and in the western districts of the United Provinces. Of this six hundred plague cases reported from the Punjab in October, five hundred occurred in Rawalpindi. The condition would be relatively satisfactory in this part of India were not the atmospheric humidity at present being reported so appreciably in excess of the normal. The excessive humidity in the winter months in the Punjab and the United Provinces has been the invariable precursor of severe plague epidemics. The distribution of infection in the east of the United Provinces indicates an outbreak of rather more than average intensity in the districts surrounding Bellia and in the adjoining district of Behar. There are also indications of an outbreak of some severity in the Jhansi district, a part of India that has suffered very little from plague in the past. Hyderabad is experiencing a more severe outbreak than that of last year where the conditions are unlikely to show any marked improvement before January. The most uncertain factors in the situation are the prevailing conditions in Central India and Rajputana Native States. In Central India where the disease is widespread the outlay has probably reached its height. In Rajputana where the disease is very much more prevalent than ever before at this time of the year each epidemic except one has attained its maximum intensity in March or April. The climatic conditions that have been experienced this year in Rajputana are so abnormal as to render any attempts at a forecast more than usually hazardous but it can be said that the plague outlook there gives occasion for anxiety. To sum up, the present plague outlook in India is black but provided that the cold weather months in the Punjab and the United Provinces be not characterized by atmospheric humidity, appreciably in excess of the normal, it is unlikely that India will experience anything approaching a repetition of the disastrous outbreaks of 1904-1905, 1906-1907 and 1910-1911.


Burma news.

Rangoon, November 15. – In the report of the Royal Commission on public services in India, recommendations were made for the improvement of the organisation of the Education Department. The Government of India have discussed these recommendations so far as they relate to the main features of the constitution of Indian and provincial services of the department, and in requesting an expression of views of the Local Government regarding the alternative schemes of reconstitution, have suggested that a strong provincial committee should be appointed to assist the Local Government, with its advice. The Lieutenant-Governor has accordingly appointed a committee consisting of gentlemen interested in education to consider the proposals for the reorganization of Indian and provincial services of education department and to report to the Local Government on the subject at the earliest possible date. The Hon’ble Mr. H. Thompson, C.S.I., I.C.S., Financial Commissioner, Burma, is the Chairman and there are eighteen other influential members.

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