SAYS ELLIS ISLAND IS NOT INFESTED
Deputy Commissioner Indignantly Denies That Immigrants Got Typhus There.
MORE ALIENS FUMIGATED
Detachment From Philadelphia Is Headed Off by Police at Hoboken and Twenty Sent to Hospital.
Indignant denial that conditions at Ellis Island are so bad that
immigrants who go there clean come away infested with vermin was made
yesterday by Byron Uhl, Deputy Commissioner of Immigration, in the
absence of Commissioner Wallis, who is in Washington making
arrangements for better delousing and cleaning facilities at the
"The papers have been printing inaccurate reports about typhus
conditions," said Mr. Uhl, referring particularly to the report that
three children of immigrants were ill in Cortland, N.Y., with
typhus. "Our records show that only three persons have gone to
Cortland since Jan.5, and they were all adults.
"The island is absolutely clean, and the report that immigrants from
the Adriatic or any other ship got typhus here is a damnable lie.
Conditions on Ellis Island are satisfactory except that we need more
Health Commissioner Royal S. Copeland, who made the statement the day
before that his inspectors had found lice on immigrants who when they
left the steamer to go to the island were free from vermin, merely
smiled when told of Mr. Uhl's contradiction and said it was a strange
thing for a Government official to say.
More Found Infested.
The inspectors and physicians of the Health Department examined 901
immigrants at railroad stations and piers yesterday and found
fifty-three who were in need of delousing. They were sent to the
Willard Parker Hospital. Dr. Frank J. Monaghan, in charge of the
work, commented on the fact that most of those found in need of
cleansing were women, which showed the danger of infecting children.
At the Battery 434 immigrants who came from Ellis Island were
examined, and seven were found to be vermin infested.
By quick work Dr. Copeland's men succeeded in heading off a party of
immigrants who came to the city early yesterday morning from
Philadelphia over the Jersey Central. He received word from a health
officer in Philadephia that the immigrants were coming and telephoned
to the Hoboken police to have them kept together after they got off
the train. Twenty were found to be vermin infested and were sent to
Willard Parker Hospital.
Two typhus suspects have been under the care of Health Department
physicians in the last two days. One of them, Jack Lansalotto, 7
years old, who lived on Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, has been in the
Kingston Avenue Hospital in Brooklyn for several days, as physicians
disagree about the case. The boy arrived here on the Danzeliro on
Feb. 2 from Italy.
Dr. WIlliam L. Somerset, chief diagnostician of the Department of
Health, is sure that the boy has not got typhus, and says that his
disease is a form of late measles, in which the symptoms are very
similar to typhus. Dr. Isaac Smith, the district diagnostician, says
the boy has typhus. He is still under observation, and precautions
have been taken to make sure that his family is in no danger of
Early Diagnosis Incorrect.
The second case was that of a man who was taken from the Mallory
liner Henry R. Mallory at Pier 45 North River, on Friday, and taken
to the WIlliam Parker Hospital. Dr. Somerset decided yesterday that
the early diagnosis of typhus is incorrect.
The success of Commissioner Wallis's mission to Washington was
announced yesterday in a telegram received from him at Ellis Island.
As a first step it was decided in Washington yesterday that
Quarantine should be taken over by the Federal authorities. The
"Just concluded conference here. Labor Department again advises that
typhus and vermin entirely with Quarantine and Public Health
Services. Immigration authority or regulation does not apply to
Ellis Island. Must land after Quarantine and Public Health doctors
certify and pass immigrants. Quarantine now being taken over by
Federal Government, and will immediately spend $200,000 for baths and
"My own personal judgement, many times expressed since becoming
Commissioner, is that no alien should ever be allowed to land until
stripped of all clothing, examined from head to foot, and that a
strong disinfectant bath be compulsary for all aliens for all times."
Ford's Paper Wants to Know.
Dr. Copeland received a message from Henry Ford's weekly, The
Dearborn Independent, yesterday, asking a statement from him as to
the causes that are hindering his work. The message read:
"Will you please wire us collect statement, any length, for
publication on the situation as result unrestricted immigration?
What threatens for future? What steps should be taken in your
opinion? Gravity of situation in our opinion demands outspoken
declaration of causes. What interests are hindering your work and
what do you want?"
Dr. Copeland later dictated a statement as to his general views of
the immigration situation, as far as health inspection is concerned,
which was sent to Mr. Ford's paper in answer to the inquiry.
"Having come from Europe so recently and having observed the
suffering of people over there, I cannot bring myself to the
conviction that an absolute embargo should be placed on immigration,"
he said. "To the suffering persons in Eastern Europe America seems
like heaven, and many a peasant has walked 1,000 miles to reach a
seaport where he can get passage to the United States.
"Many formerly well-to-do persons in Europe, individuals so near to
bankruptcy, through their business having been destroyed and their
homes wiped out, and facing nothing but disaster, are anxious to come
to America to make a new start. Except as a last resort I should not
desire to deny them the right of asylum. However, so long as
quarantine conditions in Eastern ports continue as ineffective as at
present, it must be admitted that every immigrant coming from
infected ports is a menace to the health of our people.
Tells What Must be Done.
"One of two things must be done, either an embargo must be placed
upon immigration from certain sections of Europe, which the President
could do under Section 7 of the quarantine laws, or there must be an
immediate improvement in the quarantine conditions. It is not enough
for the quarantine of officials to inspect the passengers of a
steamship merely with a view to determining whether at that
particular moment there is any infectious disease aboard the ship.
A truly effective examination would go further. It would determine
whether or not there are possible carriers of infectious diseases
"This would mean, as regards typhus, that every vermin infested
person would be regarded with suspicion. The period of incubation of
typhus is from twelve to twenty days. It might happen, as doubtless
it has in scores of cases, that every person at the time of
examination was free from the visible evidence of disease. Yet these
same persons might have been inoculated with the poison of typhus
fever, which would later show itself in symptoms of disease.
"Health authorities could well disregard every such person who was
absolutely free of vermin, even though he developed a virulent attack
so serious as actually to be fatal. It would be of no consequence to
the rest of society. The typhus patient is not a menace if he is
free from vermin.
"The conclusion of the whole matter is perfectly apparent. If every
person entering an American port from suspected areas is disrobed,
deloused if necessary, and equipped with clean clothing, the danger
of typhus disappears at once."
Foreign Mail Inspected.
An inspector was sent to the Division of Foreign Mails at Morton and
West Streets to inspect foreign mail to be sure that it was free from
vermin. So far as Dr. Copeland had learned it had not been found
necessary to fumigate any of the mail, but he said it was best not to
Only one person was found to be infested with vermin on the steamship
Cedric when inspectors went over her yesterday morning at Pier 60,
North River. This was a girl, a citizen of this country, and she was
put through a cleansing process aboard the boat. All of the mail
carried by the Cedric was disinfected by Joseph Lonergan of the
Sanitary Inspection Bureau. Dr. Copeland said, in reference to
fumigation, that all the baggage cars and coaches of trains bringing
immigrants from Boston had been fumigated to protect later
Joseph Ryan, Vice President of the International Longshoreman's
Association, called on Dr. Copeland yesterday, and was warned of the
danger to longshoremen working on ships entering this port from
Europe. He suggested to Mr. Ryan that every longshoreman be sure
that he is free from vermin before going to his home at night.
The steamship Rotterdam of the Holland-America Line, which was to
have arrived here on Monday with a large first cabin list and many
steerage passengers, has been ordered to go to Boston because of
health restrictions at this port. She will arrive in Boston
tonight. The Cunard Company as not yet decided whether to divert the