Primary Resource

"Stop Influenza," Big Stone Gap Post (October 9, 1918)

In "Stop Influenza," published by the Big Stone Gap Post on October 9, 1918, U.S. Surgeon General Rupert Blue calls on communities to restrict public gathering in order to stop the spread of influenza pandemic of 1918–1919.

Transcription from Original

Epidemic Can Be Halted by Preventing Any Public Meetings

Washington, Oct. 7.—The only way to stop the spread of Spanish influenza is to close all churches, schools, theaters and public institutions in every community where the epidemic has developed, in the opinion of Surgeon of General Blue, of the Public Health Service.

"There is no way to put a nationwide closing order into effect," said Dr. Blue to day, "as this is a matter which is up to the individual communities.

In some states the State Board of Health has this power, but in many others it is a matter of municipal regulation. I hope that those having the proper authority will close all public gathering places if their community is threatened with the epidemic. They will do much towards checking the spread of the disease.

"Dr. Blue said that Delaware, yesterday was recorded among the three Eastern States free of the disease, now had reported an epidemic. All public gatherings have been forbidden there and the schools, theatres and churches ordered closed.

"Our call for physicians has been generously answered," Dr. Blue said, "but it will be necessary for us to extend that call to localities far removed from the districts in which the disease is raging. The call will be extended as soon as it is necessary for us to have the services of more physicians."

The death rate in army camps at home for the week ended September 27 was 34.4 per cent., an increase of 30 per cent. over the proceeding week, and due to influenza and pneumonia, and public health service weekly report today stated. There were 1,040 deaths as compared with 172 the week previous."