The Outbreak of Typhoid

February 1887

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Saturday 05 February 1887

The Outbreak of Typhoid at Mexborough.

Dr. Sykes, medical officer of health for the Mexborough Local Board, writes as follows respecting the acute distress existing in the vicinity of the neighbourhood attacked by the typhoid fever outbreak in Mexborough:—

“No one can realise the suffering and destitution there is in our midst unless they visit the sick. In the first house I visit there are a father and three daughters more less recovering from the typhoid, with a mother and a healthy child to keep. There are here no means, no income. The man mournfully says that he will have to work next week, able or not, or starve; and begs me to get him an old great coat, so that he may walk out a bit to get strength, for the wind cuts through his thin coat and shirt like a knife.

Next come a family with five children, all in one room—a girl and a boy almost in extremis—the father out of work; their sole means of support a lodger, who by himself has been laid two days.

Next door is a mother, so week that she can hardly hold her baby, but sharing the nursing night and day a little lad, the apple of her eye, who in her mind lies dying.

Next is the lodger who lived for week two pounds of oatmeal and water and such tea as he could beg from his landlady. He now has a quart milk and half a pint of beer from the parish, but is recovering, and needs eggs and other luxuries (luxuries! save the mark), which no man gives to him.

Every one of these cases might have been alleviated or entirely prevented by the existence of a little hospital.  Is there not the Infirmary ? No; cases of fever are admitted there! The workhouse? No; even the refuge oi the destitute is closed to these! There they lie in their squalor, overcrowded, fever-stricken, helpless. No man regardeth; no man helpeth; if they recover—all right! If they die—all right too! Have we not a Burial Board?

Christians of this district help in the name your Master. Working men help, in the name of your brothers dying at your feet.”

Dr. Sykes concludes with an eloquent appeal for the establishment of a cottage hospital.