Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

How times have changed

June 7, 2007

The recent news about the gentleman who flew from our country to another country and back with tuberculosis (TB) made me think about how it was years ago here in Lansing, and in fact all over the country.

Anyone with an infectious disease was automatically put under quarantine. As a child I had scarlet fever and we had a poster put on our house, and no one could leave or enter for a certain number of days. The notice read in big letters, "SCARLET FEVER, No person shall be permitted to enter, leave, or take any article from this house without written permission from a legally authorized person from the Board of Health, except physicians, nurses in charge of the sick, or clergyman." The rules went on and on and finalized with, "This placard can not be removed by anyone except the Board of Health."

The one good thing I remember about all this was getting a red Buck Rogers Pop Gun, to keep me busy.

In 1896 when my grandfather was working at the state prison, there was a smallpox epidemic in Kansas. Because of this, the state penitentiary closed its gates, announcing it had temporarily stopped admitting prisoners.

Under the order issued by Secretary Thomas Kirkpatrick of the State Board of Health, upon the request of Warden J.B. Lynch, the penitentiary was quarantined against the admission from counties in which smallpox had been reported, including Shawnee and Wyandotte.

Warden Lynch said the quarantine, which had the approval of the Governor's Office, would be lifted as soon as all danger from smallpox infection had passed.

From the stories that I heard from my family, at that time the officers and personnel were not allowed to return to their homes for days.

There are now many infectious diseases around that no one knows about or can even question due to so called "political correctness." In the 1950s, everyone planning marriage had to have a blood test. It was not something we questioned or complained about but just did because it was the law and it was the right thing to do.

One of the quotes us old people hear the most now is, "How times have changed."

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