Reports on the Fever Epidemic in Ireland:
February and May 1849

p 064 Report on the Fever Epidemic in Ireland
In the hope of preserving some record of the late 
disastrous epidemic which devastated this country during
the years 1847 and 1848, the Editor of This Journal 
addressed a circular to those medical practitioners 
throughout the kingdom from whom he thought it likely
he should obtain the desired information.
There was a list of 44 questions.

p 067 Dr Ross of Warrenpoint and Rostrevor in Co Down states that the epidemic has not been prevalent in his area,

p 067 The lack of reports from some areas is attributed to 
the mortality rate among the medical profession itself.

p 068 Province of Munster - County Cork
The county was healthy except for cases of diarrhoea
at Innishannon. The outbreak of fever commenced at
Mitchelstown in November 1846 and in other parts of
Cork in February 1847. 

p 069 Province of Munster - Tipperary
In the town of Clonmell the average number of cases
in the Fever Hospital (75) rose to 518 in June 1847.
In Cloughjordan the cases doubled in 1846 and doubled again in 1847

p 070 Province of Munster - County Limerick
The fever broke out in April 1847 the health of the 
population having been previously bad; the sickly and
the poorest classes were in general the first affected.
In the Cappamore Fever Hospital, which was opened on
8th July 1847 - 1,151 cases were admitted up to the
10th of August 1848.
In County Clare at Clonlara the proportion of cases to
the population of the district was something about 20%.

p 104 Province of Ulster - County Antrim - Belfast
In Belfast it began in May 1847 and in Antrim in July
In Belfast the proportion of cases to the population
was 16,000 in 110,000 or about 1 in 7 

p 106 Province of Ulster - County Tyrone
Of the entire number of admissions into Omagh Fever
Hospital 530 were males and 284 females. The whole
population of the district is 69,099 so that the 
proportion of cases to the population was 1 : 85

p 117 The mortality was greater in the upper classes.
In Ballycastle
it was 1 : 5 in the middle classes.
In Belfast General Hospital it was 1 : 8 

p 118 In Tyrone in the Omagh Fever Hospital mortality was 
92 in 814 cases or 1 : 9 

In Cavan in the upper classes the mortality amounted to
at least 66%. In the Cavan temporary Fever Hospital
which was opened 9th April 1847, and closed on the
10th February 1848, out of 1,236 cases 48 died being a
mortality of 4.25%.

p 125 Observations of Dr Betty of Lowtherstown
In the early part of the summer of 1847 I had extensive
opportunities of seeing this fever in all its stages,
having charge of the Union Fever Hospital of 40 beds, 
and a very large dispensary district, which seldom at
any season wants fever of typhoid character.
I have remarked at the workhouse that persons coming in
while in the state of starvation were often taken with
fever, and in many instances had tedious recoveries.
I think that in the better classes the head was much more
affected than in the poor. The medical profession has
suffered more from this fever in this county than any of
the better classes. 
I had a very severe attack myself; crisis on the 13th day
without any visible phenomenon; my tongue was moist all
the time (I understand) my head was greatly affected.
I was well aware of the time I caught the disease, after
visiting a man who had lately come from Scotland; I felt
ill on my way home. The worst class of fever we had was 
that which was imported from Scotland, and the common
people were well aware of it, and called it the Scotch,
or black fever, from the great darkness of the countenance
during the attack. In a few instances dysentry followed 
fever in my hospital, and was generally fatal.

p 341 From Cookstown in Co Tyrone Dr Henry Graves reports on a temporary Fever Hospital at Luney in Londonderry and also on those seen as out-patients at the dispensary at Magherafelt of which charity he had charge for some of the time, during the illness and convalescene of Dr
Vesey, who narrowly escaped falling a victim to the disease.

p 355 Province of Connaught - County Leitrim 
The sanitary state of the district was good previously
to the commencement of the outbreak in June 1846 in the
town of Carrick on the Shannon where Dr Munns at one time
had upwards of 200 cases at the same time in the workhouse there. 

p 365 Report from Dr Dillon of Castlebar Co Mayo
In March 1847 our county gaol was crowded to more than
double its capacity; those committed being in a state of
nudity, filth, and starvation. The prison hospital,
calculated to hold 16 patients, had, in early March 8
cases of low typhus. From the character of the fever,
the condition of the prisoners, and the fearfully crowded
state of the gaol, I clearly saw we must before long have
a full visitation of bad typhus, and accordingly applied
through the proper authority, for immediate and further
hospital accommodations. The high sheriff and governor,
however, took upon themselves to offer a different opinion
and declared there were no grounds for alarm.
In April the epidemic struck and before temporary sheds
could be erected, and they were got up with much expedition
we had fully one-fifth of the inmates in bad typhus.
Our Roman Catholic Chaplain, Deputy Governor, Deputy Matron, and turnkey, fell victims, every hospital servant was
attacked, and from out wretched overcrowded state the
mortality was fearful - fully 40 per-cent.

p 369 Report from Dr Pemberton of Ballinrobe
The epidemic fever which commenced in the workhouse of
this Union, the latter end of February 1847, was brought
into it by a strolling mendicant from a distant locality,
who sought and obtained shelter there with the fever on 
him, and where he died in a few days. This fever spread
rapidly amongst the inmates of the workhouse, who were
fully prepared to receive the infection, from the filthy
state of the house, yards and sewerage, and also from the 
number of human beings - men, women and children - that
were huddled together in the same rooms (probationary
Wards) eating, drinkind, cooking and sleeping in the same
apartment, in their clothes, without even straw to lie on,
or a blanket to cover them.
All the officers of the instutution were simultaneously
attacked by it in its most virulent form.
The physician, master, matron, R C Chaplain, and clerk,
were lying in the disease at the same time, the physician,
master and clerk dying. 

p 374 Report on Fever by Dr Alexander Fry of Innis Boffin
p 376 The island of Boffin by much the larger of the 2
islands of Innis Boffin and Innis Sark, 
Early in the month of August 1848 Dr Fry received an
appointment as Medical Officer under the Cental Board
of Health to take charge of the 2 islands.
Inns Boffin nearer to the mainland contains a population
of about 1,600 inhabitants, who live chiefly by fishing;
they are lazy, indolent, and superstitious, and yet,
though it may appear paradoxical, the are a hardy, expert,
and enduring race of fishermen, for fishing seems to be
their proper calling.
On my arrival I found that the epidemic had extended itself
over both islands and that there had been many deaths in
the two previous months....
I found the number of fever cases, in both islands to be
about 100. I bought up all the milk I could get, and 
distributed it among the sick, most of whom had nothing
to drink but water, I also obtained some rice which after
a few days I was able to allow my patients.
A dispensary and temporary fever hospital were next fitted
up, by which means the progress of the epidemic was arrested and finally, got under completely in 3 months.
When the hospital was first opened, I had numerous enemies to encounter, and many difficulties to be overcome, owing to the - fairy doctors - and the ignorance and superstitions of the people. However, after some time, when they saw the patients whom I had in hospital recovering, and some who could not be persuaded to come into hospital, dying, their prejudices gave way, and they began no longer to look upon me as a dangerous emissary from the Government. 

p 384 Report on Fever by Dr Turner of Tuam
The mortality was far greater in my opinion, in towns than
in the rural districts, and out of hospital than it it.
There were 836 cases treated in the Tuam Union Workhouse Hospital, for the half-year ending 29th September 1847, Of these 45 died, but I must observe that many of those cases came into hospital in such a state, from starvation and disease as to preclude all hope of recovery.

Source:
From the Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science 1849
Vol 07 508 pp at Wellcome Institute London.
Originally From the Radford Library St Mary's Hospital
Manchester. February and May 1849.
Submitted by Alan Longbottom

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August and November 1849.

Index 

p 001 Report on Fever by Dr Connor of Carlow
During the year 1847 there were admitted 714 patients
into the Carlow Fever Hospital.

p 003 Report on Fever by Dr Walshe of Ballinakill
The population of the district of the Ballinakill
Dispensary was about 6,000; during the active prevalence
of the epidemic, from 1st May to 1st Nov 1847 420 cases
were treated 122 females and 198 males. 

p 004 Report on Fever by Dr Nolan of Wicklow
In the County of Wicklow Fever Hospital during the year
1848, 229 males and 176 females were admitted of whom
199 were under the age of 20.

p 006 Report on Fever by Dr Daly of Granard
In the temporary Fever Hospital at Granard from the
2nd August 1847 to 23rd Sept 1848 671 patients were
admitted 285 males and 386 females.

p 028 Report on Fever by Dr Connor of Carlow
The number of patients admitted to the Carlow Fever
Hospital in 1847 was 657 of whom 25 died.

p 046 Report on Fever by Dr Henry Kennedy of Dublin
p 048 Report on Fever at Dublin.
Of the extent of the epidemic in Dublin it would not
be easy to give a very correct idea. The hospital 
accommodation of the city amounted to about 2,500 beds,
a greater amount by 1,000 than were opened in any previous
epidemic. It may give some idea of the vast amount of
sickness, to state that, at the Cork Street Hospital
nearly 12,000 cases applied during a period of about 10
months. At one period there were outstanding upwards of
400 tickets, as many as 80 applications being made in
one day. Counting also those who did not apply to the
hospitals from among the poor, sick in their own houses,
I think the lowest estimate of the numbers sickened in
Dublin may be just short of 40,000.

p 060 Report on Fever by Dr Nalty of Dublin
Information from the Proceedings of the South Dublin
Fever Committee. The number of cases admitted into the
temporary fever hospital at Kilmainham from its opening
24th June 1847 to the closure on 29th July 1848 was
6,878, deaths of 682. 
The number of beds at Kilmainham was 990 besides 180
supported at the Cork Street Fever Hospital at the charge
of the Union, and some additional ones in Sir Patrick Duns
Hospital. The number of fever patients admitted there was
in 1847 676 of whom 44 died. and 185 in 1848 20 died.
In Steeven's Hospital 88 cases of fever were treated in
1847/8 of which number but 3 died.
The greatest number in the Kilmainham sheds at one time
was 852 on 12th November 1847. 
In the Union Workhouses, as soon as fever appeared, the
patients were transferred to some of the neighbouring 
hospitals or to the fever sheds.
From the Fever Hospital and House of Recovery Cork Street
Admitted tents and sheds included 1st Jan 1847 to 31st
Dec 1848 were 7,250 cases 3,038 male and 4,212 female
deaths were 566 being 263 male and 303 female.
From the northern side of the city we have received the 
following return.The North Dublin Relief Committee opened
hospital accommodation, at the Drumcondra sheds for 594
patients, 264 males and 330 females, upon the 31st May
1847 and closed them 1st July 1848. The numbers treated 
in the North Union fever sheds during this period were
3,047 males and 3,074 females - 474 died being 225 males
and 249 females. On the 9th October 1847 the greatest 
number of patients, 644, was in hospital.
From the Governor of the House of Industry we have 
received the following return :-
In the Hardwicke Hospital and the sheds attached thereto,
there were in 1847 3,240 cases 1,586 male and 1,654 female and 297 deaths and in 1848 2,234 were admitted 1,114 males and 1,120 females with 210 deaths. 
The senior medical attendant at the North Union Workhouse
was Dr Kirkpatrick.

p 066 Report on Fever by Dr Hudson of Navan
On the 1st January 1847 there were but 26 patients in
the Navan Fever Hospital, this number was early in the 
summer increased to upwards of 50, and the entire number 
treated during the year amounted to 1,232.
Besides the permanent hospital, there were also opened 
2 temporary fever hospitals in the neighourhood, into
which a great number of patients were received in the 
years 1847 and 1848.

p 270 Report on Fever by Dr Callanan of Cork
The obituary of our workhouse here for the year 1847
gives the appalling return of 3,329 deaths. 
Within the month of March in that year 757 inmates of 
that dismal abode perished from famine and fever. 

p 277 Report on Fever by Dr Cronin of Cove
From the Cove Fever Hospital
a summary of 1,239 cases 631 male and 608 female treated
in that institution from Sept 1846 to August 1848.
in addition to 200 cases in private practice. 
Average age of patients was 28 - 75 died or 5.21%

Source:
From the Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science 1849
Vol 08 505 pp at Wellcome Institute London.
Originally From the Radford Library St Mary's Hospital
Manchester. August and November 1849.
Submitted by Alan Longbottom