Feb – Outbreak of Measles – Water at Denaby

February 1880

Mexborough and Swinton Times, February 20.


At a mining place like Denaby, the people are not perhaps either ascarefulor cleanly as they should be, and when once an outbreak of this kind occurs (measles), it might almost be considered a miracle if the whole of the children – mixing up as they are allowed to do with each other – were not affected by it. As far as I can see, it is most probable that the measles have been caused by the alleged inadequate quantity and impurity of the water.

Of course, our doctors are well aware of the vital importance of having a sufficient quantity of good water. The first great necessity for the support of animal life is water, for without it the others would be useless. Its importance will be at once perceived when we remember that 75% of the blood, and the fleshy covering of the body is composed of it, and from that body in the course of the day about five pounds and a half of water is excreted by the lungs, the skin and the kidneys.

And of course this Denaby water is not only used for drinking purposes, but in the preparation of the food also. It is taken into the body, both separately and in combination with other foods, there being, in fact, no food, however, solid, which does not contain a certain proportion of it, and of many forms the largest part.

The duties water as to perform in the body – this will not be out of place for those who know it not – are mainly to; it serves to dissolve the food and enable the nutritive parts of it to be carried into the circulation; and on the other and it dissolves out the worn materials and conveys them out of the body.

But, although the water will do this, if it is impure, it will be the cause of no food doing any good. Then, in addition to these functions by its evaporation from the surface of the body and the air passages, it helps to regulate its temperature. If, however, the supply is inadequate, and not sufficient can be secured to cleanse the body, the pores become stopped up, and the impurities within are not allowed to escape.

It will therefore be seen that if the reports concerning the Denaby water be true, there is not much wonder at the alarming outbreak which has taken place. I should certainly like either Mr Sykes orMr Hill to explain the probable causes. It is a topic well worth public discussion, measles, being one of the “ills that flesh is heir to.” – a universal punishment for original sin, but one that I hope in time. Medical science will banish from the globe.