Mr. Sargent to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Berlin , November 12, 1883. (Received November 26.)
Sir: Referring to the subject of trichinosis at Ermesleben, I have the honor to transmit the latest news from that place of the progress and conditions of the disease, in the following translated excerpts from the local papers:
Halberstadt.—Yesterday and day before there were five more deaths from trichinosis in the neighboring village of Ermesleben, so that the total number of persons of every age who have succumbed to this terrible disease is forty-one. In the surrounding villages nine have died to date. The distress is daily increasing. It is, however, gratifying that the call for assistance is meeting with such hearty response. The collection opened by Dölle’s newspaper of this place already shows receipts up to nearly 600 marks. It seems striking that just at this time trichinӕ should be so frequently discovered. Among others, Mr. Meinicke, veterinary surgeon in our neighboring town of Derenburg, [Page 403] Meat Inspector Plettner, of Wernigerode, &c., have lately found swine infected with trichinӕ. Notwithstanding the fact that the discovery of trichinӕ in swine is of so frequent occurrence, the insurance, which costs from 30 pfennige to 50 pfennige per pig, is generally neglected. We have positive information that a whole family in Gröuingen have been taken sick with trichinosis, happily not dangerously, from eating of pig which they had themselves slaughtered and inspected. A second inspection after several weeks had elapsed showed the pig to be slightly infected.
The fact is important that a family has been stricken down after eating pork which had been especially killed and inspected by itself, as the opinion prevails that such special inspection is a sure guarantee against trichinosis.
The same paper, of the 7th instant, has the following:
Halberstadt, November 5.—To-day Mr. E. Bodenstein, meat inspector of this city, again discovered trichinӕ in a pig slaughtered by a local butcher. We are informed by experts that the trichinӕ are found to exist chiefly in the lights and diaphragm of infected swine, but that the examination of these parts is generally omitted. Trichinӕ are found in almost equal numbers in the diaphragm and the so-called tenderloin; in less numbers, however, in the hams. It is nevertheless generally believed, and the idea is prevalent, that the chief seat of the trichinӕ is the hard muscles and hams. A thorough examination by expert meat inspectors is absolutely necessary.
It will be observed that inspection, so often fallacious, is still recommended, instead of cooking or even salting, which probably destroys the germs.
By an item in the Berlin Tageblatt, of yesterday, I learn that during the past month of October there were discovered at the municipal meat inspector’s office at the central slaughter-house, at Berlin, where all cattle are slaughtered, twenty-two cases of trichinӕ and one hundred and twenty-seven measly swine. These were seized by the police and taken to the fiscal rendering house for destruction, or for other than food purposes.
I have, &c.,