Number of Cases of Diphtheria Reported (29 October 1914)

On 29 October, Berlin’s City Council hosted an emergency meeting to discuss the mounting issue of Diphtheria in the region. The bacterial infection, which causes human mucus glands to swell and creates difficulty breathing, proved a challenge for local officials. Berlin’s Mayor Euler met with Dr. McGillawee who was the sanitary inspector of Waterloo Region.

The doctor inspected several local businesses for bacteriological concerns, the Breithaupt Leather Factory’s settling tanks, locally produced milk, water supplies and the local slaughterhouse. The doctor observed several possible bacterial starting points as a precaution and failed to trace the source. A total of two individuals died from this bacteria and containment measures were imposed to prevent any further unrest caused by Diphtheria. One of the preventative measures prescribed was keeping all school doors in the region open in order to maintain ventilation for children. Media reports on this topic began to decline shortly after the outbreak suggesting that it was a relatively contained scare. The local government’s proactive management of this outbreak was characteristic of how governments handled epidemics during this time period.

(“Number of Cases of Diphtheria Reported,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 29 October 1914)