In a work recently published by an English physician on the transmission of fevers, after referring to the value of thorough ventilation, light, and cleanliness, to disinfect clothes and apartments, he says :—" It is important to know, regarding infection, that when not destroyed or dispersed in the sick-room, it attaches itself and adheres with great tenacity to all articles of furniture, chairs, tables, drawers, &c, nestling in their innumerable pores ; and unless these articles be scrubbed with a solution of chloride of lime, or exposed to a strong heat, or a free current of air for several hours, it may again become evolved, more virulently than at first, after a lapse of weeks. But it chiefly adheres to cotton and woolen materials. The patient's body-clothes and blankets become saturated with it, like a sponge with water ; in airing these materials, a mere passing breeze is not always sufficient to carry it away."—Exchange. [There is little doubt that infectious diseases are carried by things and in ways we little dream of; but whether infection adheres so closely to articles as the above paragraph would intimate, is a question. We would however, advise any of our readers who should unhappily have occasion to want the advice, to boil a little nitric acid in the sick room, (first removing therefrom all metallic articles,) as this is the most powerful and perfect disinfectant.—-EDS.
This article was originally published with the title "Transmission of Fevers" in Scientific American 13, 24, 192 (February 1858)