Phthisis, commonly known simply as consumption, has of late excited none of that alarmed interest that has centred round insanity and cancer; it has supplied no startling figures appearing to indicate irresistible conquest. At the beginning of the period we are considering, in the year 1879, the number of deaths from phthisis was 399, or 8.90 per 10,000 of population, while in 1898 the number of deaths was 597, but only 8.11 per 10,000 of population. These figures in themselves should not, however, be taken to indicate a real decrease in liability to death from phthisis. As far as these figures go, the relatively smaller number of deaths from phthisis might be due to the section of the population of those ages most liable to death from phthisis forming more recently a smaller proportion of the whole population. To draw proper conclusions we must proceed to a more detailed analysis.
Table III. exhibits the result of applying the same method as that already applied to the other two diseases.
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|80 and over||00||7.6||5.6||8.2||7.6||00||0.0||4.6|
The results given in this table for ages up to 65, and for the first and last of the four periods considered, are illustrated graphically in Plate IV. For ages over 65 the numbers of cases are too small to give fair averages.
This table shows that during the ages from 10 to 20 females are much more liable to death from phthisis than males, but from 45 onwards the position is more than reversed.
Phthisis is often regarded as a disease of youth, but this table shows that though this is the case to a considerable extent for females, yet for males from the age of 20 years, when the chance of death from phthisis first becomes considerable, it remains comparatively constant up to the age of 70 years, when a decrease sets in.
Leaving out of further consideration the ages 65 and over, because of the comparatively small number of cases they supply, we see that for other ages the number of deaths per 10,000 of population fell off during the period under consideration for the great majority of age-periods. In fact, in the case of males the only age-period showing an appreciable increase was that of 60—65, and in the case of females the only age-periods showing an increase were those of 15—20 and 60—65, and the increases in both these cases were comparatively slight.
Thus, on the whole, there was during the period a very gratifying falling-off in the ravages made by this insidious disease.