Monday, May 9, 2011

9 May 1902: "No Contagious Diseases."

On this day in 1902, among other tidbits of brief news covering everything from the weather to church picnics, the following item was included in the Athens Banner:


The city of Athens had a full-time Sanitary Inspector since at least 1890, far ahead of its time in the rest of the state. He earned $600 per year in 1890, the same as a "regular policeman" and the city attorney. Georgia did not establish a Board of Health with quarantine authority and the ability to enforce other public health laws until 1903. 

In Athens, the Sanitary Inspector in charge of enforcing regulations that were intended to control any communicable diseases (such as smallpox or tuberculosis), and tested and regulated the milk supply. The Sanitary Inspector also worked with the University of Georgia to provide bacteriological services to the county, such as testing the water supply for contaminants. 

In later years, child health became a focus of local health authorities, with much support from local organizations like the Athens Woman's Club, who focused on early childhood education, proper nutrition, and establishing Athens' first Farmer's Market to bring fresh food to a wider population.

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