Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 3, 1888, Part I
Mr. Hanna to
Buenos Ayres , December 12, 1887. (Received January 17, 1888.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose you herewith, inclosure presenting report of a sanitary convention recently signed by the Argentine, Brazilian, and Uruguayan commissioners, relating to the question of quarantine along the South American shores.
Difficulties and delays growing out of this situation have proved to be a sore question to the mail service and trade affairs generally. Hopes are entertained there may now be a general improvement in the matter and some relief obtained from many embarrassments.
The stipulations are given in full, as published by the commissioners themselves.
I have, etc.,
The International Sanitary Convention.
The following is the convention signed by the Argentine, Brazilian, and Uruguayan commissioners in Rio Janeiro:
The contracting countries agree in declaring that: Exotic pestilential diseases are yellow fever, cholera morbus, and the Eastern plague; an infected port is one in which either of the said diseases exists as an epidemic; a suspicious port is one in which isolated cases of either of said diseases are occurring, or one which is in easy and frequent communication with or is not sufficiently protected against infected ports. An infected ship is one in which a case of pestilential disease has occurred; a suspicious ship is one which, proceeding from an infected or suspicious port, has [Page 8] not had during the voyage any ease of pestilential disease, or one which, though proceeding from a clean port, has touched at an infected or suspicious port, or one which, during its voyage or on its arrival has communicated with another ship from an unknown, infected, or suspicious port, or one which has had deaths from an unascertained cause or repeated cases of any kind of disease, or one which does not bring a clean bill of health from the port from which it proceeded, as well as from the ports of call, or one which, though it has undergone quarantine or received special sanitary treatment in either of the contracting countries, is not furnished with an international patent of free pratique. The declaration of a port being infected or suspicious shall be made by the Government of the declarant country at the request of the chief of the maritime sanitary service and shall be published officially.
The contracting countries shall establish adequate sanitary services, and the chiefs I thereof shall communicate with each other upon all matters affecting the service.
A code of international regulations shall be issued for establishing uniformity in the services.
The contracting countries shall establish such lazarettos as may be necesssary, and they shall be placed upon islands; at least one floating lazaretto shall be established in case of an epidemic; floating hospitals shall be created in connection with the fixed lazarettos, to be used for the treatment of persons attacked by exotic pestilential diseases in the ships which may arrive or are already anchored; the quarantines and sanitary measures adopted in any lazaretto of either of the three countries shall be considered valid, for the purposes of this convention, provided they be officially certified; the ports shall not be closed against any ship, whatever may be her sanitary condition.
A ship proceeding from foreign ports shall not be put in free pratique without a previous sanitary visit. The visiting sanitary authority shall thoroughly investigate the sanitary condition of the ship and shall decide on the treatment to be applied.
Three kinds of ships are recognized, steam-packets with less than 100 foredeck passengers; immigrant transports, that is to say, steamers with or without packet privileges which carry more than 100 fore-deck passengers; sailing vessels.
Every steamer must carry a doctor on board and be provided with a high-pressure steam-disinfecting stove; with a store of disinfectants and disinfecting apparatus; with a book containing particulars of the medical stores on board, with a record of the medical prescriptions made up; with a clinical book recording minutely all the cases of illness on board and the treatment applied to them; with a list of the passengers, specifying names, ages, sexes, nationalities, professions, and port of departure, with a list of the crew and a manifest of the cargo.
The books before mentioned shall be opened and marked by the consul of one of the contracting countries in the port of departure, and the pages relating to each voyage shall be closed by the sanitary authority of the port of destination. No fee shall be payable by the captains of ships for the opening of these books. All the ship’s papers shall be submitted to the examination of the sanitary authority of the port of destination and of the consular authorities of the ports of departure.
Every ship must bring a bill of health from the sanitary authority of the port of departure signed by the consuls of the countries to which she is bound, in the said port and in the ports of call. This must be presented to the sanitary authorities of the ports of call of the three countries, and must be given up to the sanitary authority of the last port at which the ship arrives. The sanitary document hitherto issued by consuls is suppressed. The consul to whom the bill of health is presented may make any note thereon in rectification of the facts stated therein, A bill of health so rectified shall be sent by the sanitary authority of the first Argentine, Brazilian, or Uruguay port to the port of the country to which the rectifying consul belongs, together with a sanitary note signed by the authority of the same port, in which shall be declared the treatment to which the ship has been submitted.[Page 9]
The consuls in the ports of departure shall ascertain the sanitary condition of such ports and, in case of rectification of a bill of health, shall transmit the reasons for the same to the other two contracting countries. Ships going to ports of all three countries must take out a bill of health in each of them. A clean bill of health is that which does not mention any case of exotic pestilential disease in the ports of departure or call, and a dirty bill of health is that which mentions an epidemic or isolated case of either of the before-mentioned diseases.
The contracting countries resolve respectively to institute and pay a corps of medical inspectors whose duty it shall be to watch, on board the ships, the execution of the measures adopted in favor of the health of the passengers and crews, and also to note the occurrences during the voyage and to report them to the sanitary authority of the port of destination.
These inspectors shall be subordinate to the chief of the maritime sanitary department to which they belong.
Two kinds of quarantine shall be practiced, rigorous quarantine and quarantine of observation. The objects of the former shall be to ascertain whether among the passengers proceeding from an infected or suspicious port any one comes attacked by a pestilential disease in course of incubation and to disinfect the objects susceptible of retaining or transmitting contagion.
Quarantine of observation shall consist in the detention of the ship for the time necessary for making a rigorous sanitary visit on board. Rigorous quarantine shall be applied to infected ships and to ships on board which have occurred cases of diseases not specified, and which could not be ascertained by means of the sanitary visit. The duration of the rigorous quarantine shall depend upon the maximum period for the incubation of the pestilential disease which it is wished to avoid in accordance with the international sanitary regulations.
The duration shall be reckoned from the date of the last case which occurred during the voyage or from the date of the landing of the passengers in the lazaretto. It shall reckon from the last case when the ship has satisfied the stipulations of article 5, and when there is an inspector on board who certifies the exact date of such case and the execution of the proper measures of disinfection and the perfect state of health then existing, and when the sanitary authority has proved the veracity of the information given. If, under such conditions, the time transpired since the last case is more than that of the maximum period for incubation, the passengers shall be put in free pratique as well as the ship, provided she does not bring any susceptible objects, but if she bring such objects which have not been disinfected or which still require disinfection, the free pratique of disembarkation shall only take place after the termination of such disinfection. If the time transpired since the last case of disease should be less than the maximum period of incubation, and if the ship should have complied with the conditions previously mentioned in reference to the commencement of rigorous quarantine, the passengers shall undergo a quarantine of as many days as may be necessary to complete the period of incubation, and this in a lazaretto, unless there should be no place available in it, in which case the quarantine shall be permitted to be effected on board.
If on the arrival of the ship there should be on board any person attacked by a pestilential disease, such person shall be lodged in the floating hospital, and the passengers shall be submitted to quarantine in the floating lazaretto, and the ship shall be subject to the provisions made for such an emergency by the international regulations. The same proceedings shall be adopted when a vessel having had a case of pestilential disease, although none may exist at the time of arrival, has not satisfied the conditions mentioned in the paragraph relating to the commencement of the rigorous quarantine.